Player Management International Media Release

Richmond, VA (April 28, 2012) – After a tough race in Kansas, the best medication would be a solid run in Richmond, VA.  Mears and the GEICO team arrived at Richmond International Raceway on Friday poised for redemption and eager for a good result. 
If Friday was any indication, Mears and his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion were in for a fast weekend.  Mears jumped straight to the top of the charts in the opening practice session and ended up 17th by its conclusion.  He later paced the ¾-mile oval in just 21.346 seconds during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying, landing him 26th on Saturday night’s starting grid. 
After taking the green flag on a cold Saturday evening, Mears had dropped to 28th by the time the competition yellow waved on lap 50.  Citing changing track conditions, crew chief Bootie Barker decided to only make an air pressure adjustment when Mears brought his #13 GEICO Fusion to pit road for fresh tires and fuel.  Once the race went back to green, Mears began wheeling his GEICO machine towards the front of the field.  The racecar’s handling improved and so did Mears’ lap times, as he began turning laps as quick as the leader. 
Mears spent the bulk of his evening in the top 25 and by lap 204 he had even dipped into the top 10 before taking to pit road for four fresh tires and a tank of racing fuel.  A late race caution flag fell just three laps after Mears had visited pit road on lap 307 for a scheduled green flag pit stop.  While the setback proved frustrating, Barker used strategy to help Mears regain positions.  Rather than visit pit road, Barker ordered the #13 GEICO Fusion to stay out and take the wave around.  Prior to taking the wave around, Mears was scored in the 27th position, but he subsequently restarted 23rd on lap 318, netting four positions. 
Mears and the #13 GEICO Fusion were running in the 22nd position before a caution slowed the field with 14 laps remaining in the race.  Rather than pit, Barker once again directed his driver to stay on the racing surface.  When the race went back to green with just nine laps to go, Mears finished strong and picked up another position before recording a 21st place finish, just ahead of Marcos Ambrose and Jeff Gordon. 
“Tonight was a solid night and the team did a nice job of getting me on and off of pit road,” a chilled Mears said after slipping from his warm racecar.  “We felt like we were a little off in practice, but we had a good plan for the race and things worked out for us.  We’re looking forward to getting to Talladega next week and putting the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion up front.”
Next up for the GEICO team is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ second restrictor plate race of the season.  After running at the front of the field at the season opening Daytona 500, Mears and his teammates are eagerly anticipating their trip to Talladega, Alabama. 

Mears and his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion will hit the track at Talladega Superspeedway for the opening practice session on Friday, May 4th, at 2:00 PM (EDT).  Qualifying will follow on Saturday, May 5th, at 12:10 PM (EDT). 
The Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, May 6th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 12:00 PM (EDT).  The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
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