UNDAUNTED MEARS 23RD AT FONTANA AFTER LATE-RACE CONTACT
The Bakersfield native departs California 12th in the point standings
Fontana, CA (March 22, 2015) - The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is off to an exciting start for Casey Mears and Germain Racing. Aside from creating significant buzz, the GEICO team has turned in strong finishes and sat 12th in the point standings as they looked for another solid performance in Fontana, CA, this weekend.
Friday got off to a slow start when Mears was 30th in the weekend's opening practice session before later qualifying 37th. Saturday, however, told a different tale. The Germain Racing team entered practice seemingly unshaken and, after making subtle adjustments to the setup of the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS, Mears shot to the top of the speed charts and ended up 10th fastest in the morning session and fourth in the final practice. With marked improvement behind them, the GEICO team departed the track on Saturday confident that the changes that were made would manifest themselves in the way of speed once the race went green on Sunday.
Starting 37th on Sunday, Mears and his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet had their work cut out for them. When the green flag got the 400-mile event underway, he made gradual progress and found himself at odds with a racecar that seemed to have multiple personalities at times. In an event that featured seven caution flags, the Germain Racing pit crew used each of them to help improve the handling of the GEICO Chevy. As the race moved into the final laps, Mears was running solidly in the 19th position and appeared to be making up ground to the leaders. When the yellow flag waved with just two laps remaining in the advertised distance, crew chief Bootie Barker ordered the GEICO Chevy to pit road for right-side tires and fuel.
The outcome would be decided by two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, the first of which proved troublesome for Mears. He was in the 15th position and charging before the No. 17 car of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. made heavy contact with him, causing damage to the right-side of the No. 13 GEICO Chevy, leaving a bent fender and a tire rub. The caution flag flew for debris, allowing the Bakersfield, CA, native to bring his machine to the attention of the Germain Racing pit crew. They made quick repairs and provided him with four fresh tires and a can of fuel before returning him to the racing surface. The GEICO Chevy remained on the lead lap, but would be forced to start from the 30th position when the race returned to green for the final time. Upon taking the green flag, a skillful Mears promptly collected seven positions and rallied back to record a 23rd place, lead lap finish when the checkered flag halted the field just a lap later. His resilience accounts for the team's fifth top-25 finish of the 2015 season and helped to maintain his 12th place position in the point standings. Mears sits just six points removed from the top-10.
"We had a weird day because the car changed a few times and it made it hard to drive, but the guys on our Germain Racing pit crew did a nice job of trying to get it right," Mears said. "When we got down to the end, we were on the lead lap and in a position to get a good finish and gain ground in the points. Unfortunately, the 17 got into us and I'm not real sure what happened there, but it was disappointing to say the least. We had to pit while everyone else stayed out and that put us way behind on that last restart. Thankfully, I was able to pass some cars and salvage a 23rd place finish. I'm really proud of our pit crew and glad they were able to get the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet fixed up and keep me on the lead lap. We're sitting in a good position in the points and we're still 12th and only six points out of 10th. I'm excited to get to Martinsville and have a strong run, which would help us get into the top-10. It's a track where we've had success and we're always confident when we show up there."
Mears and his Germain Racing counterparts will now play closer to home when they visit Martinsville, VA, next week for race number six of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Martinsville Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, March 27th, at 12:00 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 4:45 PM (ET).
The STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 29th, and it will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 1:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Please visit www.GEICO.com to learn how you could save money on more than just auto insurance.
To learn more about the GEICO Racing program, please visit: www.caseymearsracing.com
You can also follow GEICO Racing on Twitter: www.twitter.com/geicoracing
To learn more about Germain Racing, please visit www.GermainRacing.com
- PMI -