PERSISTENT MEARS BOUNCES GEICO BACK INTO THE TOP 35
Fort Worth, TX (April 9, 2011) – After a heartbreaking week in Martinsville, Casey Mears and the GEICO team eagerly anticipated their weekend in Texas. A week ago, Mears drove the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry to the front of the field before a tire issue, followed by a transmission problem, dashed the hopes of the Germain Racing team.
In the interest of moving forward, Mears climbed into the #13 GEICO Camry in Texas on Thursday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ opening practice session and promptly took control of the ‘go or go home’ field. The Gecko sat 28th on the speed chart and was the fastest ‘go or go home’ car, giving the GEICO team hope as they prepared for Friday’s qualifying session.
Mears would not fail to impress and would navigate the 1.5-mile quad-oval of Texas Motor Speedway in just 28.933 seconds, at a rate of speed of 186.638 miles per hour. Mears’ effort landed the #13 GEICO Camry 22nd on Saturday’s Samsung Mobile 500 starting grid.
Amid heavy winds and 80-degree temperatures, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field took the green flag for 334 laps of racing. Rolling off the starting grid from the 22nd position, Mears fell backwards as he began to immediately battle a loose condition.
Mears would free-fall to 31st before the event’s first caution flag of the day was displayed on Lap 9. After bringing the #13 GEICO Camry down pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment, Mears started to head north on the scoring chart. By Lap 57, he was riding in 26th and on the rear bumpers of Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne. Eight laps later, Mears would pilot the #13 GEICO Camry around Kahne and Brian Vickers and move into the 24th position.
Following a scheduled green flag pit stop on Lap 95, Mears began to report a loose condition in the #13 GEICO Camry. Casey radioed to crew chief Bootie Barker: “I’m way loose. I’m sideways out here. The back end is terrible.” Barker assured his driver that the necessary adjustments would be made during the next pit stop.
The caution Mears so badly needed came out on Lap 113 when Ken Schrader cut down a tire. Running in the 30th position, Mears brought his #13 GEICO Camry to the attention of his Germain Racing pit crew, who outfitted Mears with four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and adjustments.
Mears had moved into 29th when he found himself narrowly avoiding peril when a Lap 215 crash involving Martin Truex, Jr., Mark Martin and Regan Smith occurred just in front of the #13 GEICO Camry. Mears carefully maneuvered through the carnage and began his march to the Top 25.
When the checkered flag waved under a Texas night sky, Mears had hustled to a 26th place finish. His effort returned GEICO and the Germain Racing team to the Top 35, ensuring they will be in the field next week in Talladega.
“Of course we want to be better, but we were able to work hard tonight, get a 26th place finish and get back in the Top 35,” Mears said after climbing from his #13 GEICO Camry. “It certainly makes a difference when you can show up each week and be guaranteed a starting spot, so obviously our top priority is being in the Top 35 and we were able to make that happen tonight. The crew worked hard during our pit stops and we were able to be persistent and achieve our goal.”
While Mears’ weekend ended on a good note, getting back in the Top 35 was not the only exciting thing that happened. Mears’ new GEICO commercial began airing this weekend. The commercial features the GEICO driver as a ‘golfer’ and he appears to be ‘driving’ a golf ball during the spot.
Mears and the GEICO team will next travel to Talladega, Alabama, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ second restrictor-plate race of the 2011 season.
Mears and the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry will hit the 2.66-mile tri-oval of Talladega Superspeedway for the opening practice session at 2:00 PM (EDT) on Friday, April 15th. Qualifying will follow on Saturday, April 16th at 11:35 AM (EDT).
The Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, April 17th and it will be televised live on FOX 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.geicogarage.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