Richmond, VA (September 11, 2010) – A week removed from going on a tear in Atlanta that found his average lap times in the Top 15, Casey Mears was anxious to get back to work in Richmond.
The race weekend kicked off with a visit to GEICO’s corporate office, located just 100-miles from Richmond International Raceway. GEICO officials expressed their excitement about Mears’ contribution to their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program and Mears departed the D.C. office with confidence and focus.
Whatever GEICO’s top brass shared with Mears must have carried great motivation because the GEICO Racing team entered Richmond poised for success.
At the end of the opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session, Mears was the fourth fastest ‘go or go home’ car. Crew chief Bootie Barker then made wholesale changes before the final practice session got underway. Barker, known as one of the most cerebral crew chiefs in the business, nailed it. The final session saw Mears and the #13 GEICO Camry as high as fourth on the speed chart before ending up 17th when the session closed. More importantly for the Germain Racing team, Mears was the fastest ‘go or go home’ car, while the next ‘go or go homer’ sat all the way down in 28th position.
When qualifying got underway, Mears and the #13 GEICO Camry went out 38th and quickly placed themselves in Saturday night’s field. When the checkered flag ended his qualifying run, Mears found himself 18th on the starting grid after pacing the ¾-mile D-shaped oval in just 21.366 seconds, at a rate of speed of 126.369 miles per hour.
When race time arrived, the GEICO Racing team carried heavy hearts, as the NASCAR pre-race activities honored those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, as well as first responders and our troops abroad.
Starting in the 18th position, Mears would drop to 21st on Lap 23, but just one lap later, he placed the #13 GEICO Camry back in the Top 20. On lap 57, Kurt Busch sent David Reutimann for a spin, bringing out the event’s first caution flag of the evening. The caution would allow Mears to bring the GEICO Camry down pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires and a tank of Sunoco racing fuel.
On an otherwise beautiful evening, rain began to fall on lap 215, ultimately causing the caution flag to be displayed on lap 225. Mears came down pit road with the balance of the field to take on tires and fuel while the rain began to slow a bit. By lap 241, the green flag was out and the race was back underway.
Mears kept the #13 GEICO Camry in the Top 25 for the entire evening, running solidly ahead of both Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin for much of the time. He even flirted with the top 10 when he found himself in the 11th position on lap 327, until a scheduled green flag pit stop sent him down pit road for his final stop of the evening. After taking on tires and fuel, Mears rejoined the field in the 22nd spot. With just eight laps remaining in the Air Guard 400, Mears managed to track down Martin Truex, Jr, and secure the 21st position.
When the checkered flag was displayed, Mears and the #13 GEICO Camry notched a 21st place finish, capping off a two week run that has shown marked improvement in the GEICO Racing Sprint Cup Series program.
“Tonight was a lot of fun and I think we’re showing that we’re pretty good at what we’re doing,” Mears said. “This #13 GEICO Camry is a good racecar and I appreciate all of the hard work that these Germain Racing guys are putting into it. We’re committed to getting to the front of the field, so we’re continuing to work hard and tweak on some things to make the program better.” He continued, “It was a great experience going to GEICO’s corporate office on Thursday and getting to sit down and talk to their top executives face-to-face and see their excitement about our race program. They are committed to giving us what we need to be successful and it feels great knowing we have that kind of support.”
The next GEICO sponsored race for Casey Mears and the Germain Racing team will be at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, September 26, 2010.
Mears and the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry will hit the Monster Mile for the opening practice session at 11:30 AM (EDT) on Friday, September 24th, followed by qualifying at 3:10 PM (EDT).
The Dover NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, September 26th, and it will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1:00 PM (EDT), while 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
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Contact: Doug Barnette, Player Management International