FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AFTER ROLLING WITH THE TIDE, MEARS LEADS AT TALLADEGA
Talladega, AL (October 7, 2012) – Restrictor plate tracks have always seemed to favor Casey Mears and his GEICO team. Accordingly, Germain Racing viewed Talladega as an opportunity to run up front and possibly pull off a win as the race was sure to come down to the final lap.
Before hitting the racetrack, however, Mears first tended to business in Tuscaloosa, AL, on Thursday where he was treated to a tour of the University of Alabama football facility and later attended practice. A guest of the Crimson Tide coaching staff, Mears witnessed firsthand the championship regimen of America’s number one ranked college football team.
“It was great to be able to spend a few hours with the Alabama football team and see how focused they are on being the very best,” Mears said. “I am grateful to the staff at Alabama for letting me hang around for a day. It was inspiring to see the passion involved in everything they do. I think there are a lot of parallels between what they do and what we do when it comes to preparation, focus and intensity. I hope we can take our entire GEICO team the next time we go.”
Mears and the Germain Racing team hit the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway on Friday for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. Mears wasted little time getting settled into the track where he led in the spring. He sat second on the speed chart in the opening session, as the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion topped a startling 200 miles per hour. A day later, Mears qualified 19th for Sunday’s race when he toured the 2.66-mile facility in just 50.353-seconds, at a rate of speed of 190.177 miles per hour.
Temperatures on raceday were in the low 60’s, while gray skies dominated the afternoon. Starting 19th, Mears quickly dropped to 30th by the second lap before beginning a charge to the front, where he would ultimately spend his entire afternoon. He soon hooked up with his good friend Jeff Gordon and found himself as the leader on lap 50. After surrendering a few positions, Mears and the #13 GEICO Fusion retook the lead on lap 57 and held the position until crew chief Bootie Barker ordered him to pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 61. The GEICO pit crew would do a stellar job all afternoon and got Mears and the GEICO Fusion on and off pit road quickly, gaining positions with nearly every stop.
Mears rarely fell out of the top 10, but on the odd occasion that he slipped to 15th or 16th, he led a resurgence that saw him dice his way through the field and, more times than not, end up as the leader. After taking fuel on a quick ‘splash and go’ stop during a late Jamie McMurray caution, the #13 GEICO Fusion was forced to start the race from the 17th position with just two laps to go in the race.
After the green flag waved for the final time with two laps remaining, Mears cut through the field and was sitting in the eighth position when the white flag indicated one to go. He had moved up to the fifth position and had a strong, race-winning run going as he drafted with Michael Waltrip heading out of turn four on the final lap. Tony Stewart quickly slid down the track to block Waltrip, causing a chain reaction crash that involved 24 cars and collected all but two of the Chase contenders. Unfortunately, it also collected the #13 GEICO Fusion of Casey Mears and sent him hard into the outside wall, resulting in a destroyed racecar. After leading the race on four different occasions for a total of ten laps, and sitting in the top five on the final lap, Mears was forced to settle for a 26th place finish, which is not indicative of the dominant run he enjoyed this afternoon.
“It was a great day for the GEICO team because we ran up front the whole race and led a few times,” Mears said as he surveyed the damage to his GEICO car. “I was able to drive to the front at will and it was a lot of fun to be able to do whatever I wanted out there today. I’m really happy for GEICO and all of the guys on this team because we’ve all worked hard together to get to this point. The Germain guys gave me a great car and the pit crew was incredible today. I was also glad we could get GEICO great television exposure. There’s no denying we were here and we had a strong run with Michael (Waltrip) coming out of (turn) four and definitely would have ended up second… if we didn’t win the race.”
Next week, the Germain Racing crewmembers get to sleep in their own beds and go home to their families each night. They will race just down the road in Charlotte, NC.
Mears and the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion will hit the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the opening practice session on Thursday, October 11th, at 3:30 PM (EDT). Qualifying will follow at 7:10 PM (EDT).
The Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Saturday, October 13th, and it will be televised live on ABC beginning at 7:00 PM (EDT). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) 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