MEARS DEPARTS VEGAS WITH TOP-25 FINISH AND TOP-10 POINTS POSITION
Las Vegas, NV (March 8, 2015) - The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is off to a hot start for Casey Mears and Germain Racing. After a strong finish at the high-speed mile and a half track in Atlanta, the GEICO team looked to Las Vegas as an opportunity to provide affirmation of the improvement of their intermediate program. They aimed to conquer Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a facility that has left them frustrated in seasons past.
A year ago in Las Vegas, Mears and the GEICO team were 26th in the opening practice session and qualified 30th. This weekend saw the tables turn when Mears was 19th in the first practice and qualified 17th on Friday. He went on to pilot the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS to the top of the charts in final practice on Saturday, where he finished up third fastest, turning heads in the NASCAR garage.
Bright sunshine and packed grandstands saw the green flag get the Kobalt 400 underway on Sunday afternoon. Mears and his GEICO Chevy quickly jumped to 13th in the opening laps and remained there until the competition caution slowed the field on lap 25. He reported that the car had been loosening up and that he was "loose on and loose past center". Crew chief Bootie Barker ordered up a two-tire stop with fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Taking only two tires allowed Mears a five-position bump in track position when he restarted 8th on lap 30. Unfortunately, just a few laps later, Mears reported that his GEICO car had a vibration, which would only worsen over time. By lap 45, he reported that the tires were causing a heavy vibration and that they may be way out of balance. At the same time, the GEICO Chevy continued to get loose, leaving him with no side-bite in the rear and causing him to surrender valuable real estate that sent him as far back as the 35th position.
Long green flag runs were of no assistance to Germain Racing and the crew used each pit stop to make adjustments to the No. 13 GEICO Chevy. With 100 laps remaining in the race, the car began to respond to the changes and Mears promptly began turning in top-five and top-ten lap times. Despite being two laps down, he began passing cars that were running in the top-15. He would rebound from the 35th position and collect ten spots en route to a 25th place finish when the checkered flag signaled closing time at the 1.5-mile speedway. Following today's Kobalt 400, Mears and team owner, Bob Germain, sit ninth in the drivers and owners points respectively.
"Today was heartbreaking because the GEICO Chevy was good all weekend and we could have had a top-10 finish," Mears said. "The tire vibration really set us back and the car got really loose and it took a couple of adjustments to get it where we needed it to be. This is not a good place to get behind because it's so hard to pass here and make up positions. The good news is that we found speed and were passing top-15 cars, but at that point it was too late. Fortunately, we were able to maintain a good points position, so we'll go to Phoenix, which is a track where we've experienced success in the past, and look to have a good run."
The Germain Racing team will continue their west coast swing and pay a visit to Phoenix, AZ, next weekend.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Phoenix International Raceway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, March 13th, at 3:00 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 7:50 PM (ET).
The CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 15th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 3:30 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 -