FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEARS’ FAST RACECAR STIFLED BY TIRE ISSUE IN KANSAS
Kansas City, KS (October 21, 2012) – While a last second deal from GEICO sent the Germain Racing team scrambling to get to Kansas for the test on Wednesday and Thursday, any indication the team was ill-prepared was non-existent. The team arrived safely in Kansas on Wednesday morning looking to take full advantage of a two-day test permitted by NASCAR in the interest of better acquainting Sprint Cup Series drivers with the recently resurfaced Kansas Speedway.
Rain prevailed for the better part of the day on Wednesday, but once the track was dry and skies cleared, the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion made its way quickly around the newly paved 1.5-mile tri-oval. Mears is a quick learner as evidenced by his speed in the opening test session where he sat 18th on the speed chart when the rain-shortened session came to a close. Thursday took a slightly different turn when the GEICO Fusion twice let go of oil on the racetrack, cutting short an otherwise productive test day.
When the official race weekend got underway, Mears qualified 28th on Friday afternoon when he wheeled around the racetrack at a record shattering speed of 188.600 miles per hour. Mears’ rollercoaster ride continued when he sat 20th on the board after the second practice was complete on Saturday, only to have the #13 GEICO Fusion find the outside wall in final practice after drastic weather changes altered the attitude of the racecar. The Germain Racing crew worked feverishly to repair the damaged right side of the #13 Fusion and get it race-ready for the impending Hollywood Casino 400 scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Crew chief Bootie Barker and his GEICO crew performed masterful work and the Gecko sat ready to roll on a bright Sunday morning.
Race day was met with bright sunshine and perfect temperatures, but as the green flag approached, skies turned gray and the Kansas City area began to cool. Mears rolled off from the 28th position when the field was turned loose for 400-miles of racing. He began moving the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion forward and jumped to 26th before the close of the opening lap. While running lap times consistent with cars in the top ten, a right front tire sent Mears careening hard into the outside wall between turns three and four on lap 31, bringing out the first of a record setting 14 cautions at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. The GEICO Fusion was forced behind the wall for repairs, but after intensive work by the Germain Racing crew it was determined the car would not be able to maintain minimum speed should it return to the racetrack.
While Mears would be the first to have a right front tire give way, he certainly was not the last, as several drivers found themselves either spinning or making contact with the outside wall due to tire issues. The Germain Racing team was dealt a 37th place finish in a race where only 27 cars were left on the track when the checkered flag waved in front of a packed house.
“This obviously would’ve been a good day to not have any issues since only 27 cars finished the race because it was an opportunity for us to get a great finish,” Mears said. “But, it didn’t happen that way and we will put it behind us immediately and get focused on Martinsville and finishing our season in strong fashion for GEICO and everyone in the Germain organization.” He later made light of the ever-present tire issue and said, “We have them all beat; we did it first!” Mears continued by adding, “On days like this it’s hard to be mad because we can’t control flat tires. The team worked as hard as they could to get the car ready for the race and we were going to be there at the end. I’m so proud of everyone on this Germain team for their commitment and refusal to quit. We’ll keep digging and make something great happen.”
Next weekend, the Germain Racing team will travel just up the road to Martinsville, Virginia, for some electrifying short-track action.
Mears and the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion will hit the track at Martinsville Speedway for the opening practice session on Friday, October 26th, at 12:00 PM (EDT). Qualifying will follow at 3:40 PM (EDT).
The Tums Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, October 28th, and it will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1:00 PM (EDT). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
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
Please visit the Casey Mears Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/caseymearsracing
- PMI -
Contact: Doug Barnette, Player Management International