MEARS SITS SIXTH IN POINTS AFTER STRONG TOP 15 ATLANTA RUN
Hampton, GA (March 1, 2015) - Just a week removed from a Daytona Speedweeks that saw Casey Mears and the Germain Racing team go eye-to-eye with NASCAR's top stars and depart with two top-six finishes, they unloaded their No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS at a racetrack that has often proven challenging for the single-car operation.
Due to the new 2015 rules package, NASCAR allowed Sprint Cup Series teams a one-day test at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Thursday. Mears made the most of his time and finished up 16th fastest before beginning the race weekend on Friday where he was 20th in practice. In qualifying, Mears and his GEICO Chevy advanced to the second round and notched a 21st place starting position in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. The team had made marked improvement from previous visits, leaving them anxious for the arrival of race day.
Before doing battle on the racetrack, Mears and his counterparts would first need Mother Nature to retreat. The rain ultimately cleared and the race got underway with little delay. Mears rolled off of the starting grid from the 21st position beneath gray skies on a cold Sunday afternoon. When the green flag turned the field loose, he immediately broke into the top-20 and remained there for nearly the entire race, rarely surrendering positions over the course of the 325-lap event. Complementing Mears' on-track exploits, the Germain Racing pit crew regularly made quick work of the GEICO Chevy on pit road and helped him advance his position on a majority of the stops.
Aside from minor contact with the outside wall, Mears managed to keep his No. 13 GEICO Chevy clean all day, but as the laps ticked off business picked up on the racing surface. With the checkered flag growing nearer, drivers became impatient as they found themselves at odds over real estate. With just 20 to go, Greg Biffle and Joe Nemechek made contact in turn four, resulting in a crash that collected six cars, five of which were scored behind Mears in the running order, and brought out the red flag. The spinning racecar of Nemechek so narrowly missed the GEICO Chevy that Mears radioed to crew chief Bootie Barker: "I just figured he was going to hit me. I couldn't believe it when I didn't feel it."
When the race returned to green with just 14 laps remaining in the advertised distance, Mears restarted from the 16th position. He quickly pedaled his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS around the 1.54-mile paved oval and hustled to a 15th place finish when the race came to a close. His effort accounted for a top-15 finish that leaves him and his team owner, Bob Germain, atop the leaders in the point standings, in the sixth position. The team is off to a successful start in the 2015 season and their performance has created buzz among the media, as well as the Twitterverse.
"It felt really good to come here in a car that was close and that allowed us to go out and compete," Mears said. "The GEICO Chevy was solid today and it was fun to race those guys and get another good finish. The pit crew was also strong and did a nice job of getting me on and off of pit road. We've obviously improved a lot from last year and I'm happy for all of the guys because they've put a lot of work into building this program. We had a great run at Daytona, but we've always been good there. To come here and get a top-15 and leave sixth in points is exciting for everyone on this GEICO team."
The Germain Racing team will now pack up the GEICO Chevy and head west for a three-week stretch that will find them in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, March 6th, at 3:00 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 7:45 PM (ET).
The Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 8th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 3:30 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) 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 -