MEARS AND THE GECKO ESCAPE WINDY CITY WITH 26TH PLACE FINISH
Joliet, IL (September 14, 2014) - Chicago is a race that Casey Mears leaves circled on his calendar, and for good reason. In 2006, the Bakersfield, CA, native scored his first NASCAR win in the Windy City before capturing the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole there a year later in 2007. Intermediate tracks have proved challenging for Germain Racing, but the team was hopeful that the trend would change.
While the opening practice saw Mears and his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS land 29th on the board, Saturday morning's session found them bouncing back, jumping to 16th on the speed chart. Unfortunately, Mother Nature got the best of the 1.5-mile speedway on Friday afternoon, as the track succumbed to heavy rain and left Sprint Cup Series qualifying canceled. Consequently, Sunday's starting field would be set according to the speeds in the weekend's first practice session, relegating Mears to 29th on the starting grid.
When race day rolled around, inclement weather was an afterthought and only clear skies, bright sunshine and cool temperatures were present to welcome race fans. Mears started 29th on Sunday and looked to make quick progress when the green flag turned the field loose for 267 laps of racing. While the GEICO Chevy experienced some immediate movement that saw Mears jump three positions to 26th in the race's first two laps, the car quickly betrayed him and the handling soon became a source of frustration. He alerted crew chief Bootie Barker, "It worked real good for the first couple of laps, but then got tight in the center." Mears would hustle the No. 13 GEICO Chevy up to the 20th position before being forced down pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop on lap 46. Just a single lap after departing pit road, Mears reported, "It's really, really tight."
With each pit stop, the Germain Racing crew worked hard to make the necessary changes to the GEICO Chevy. The adjustments seemed to serve as little affect and Mears would fall as low as 31st before the changes to the car began to help and he made up ground as the laps wound down. Mears reported that the car was turning better, which assisted him as he attempted to collect positions in the closing laps of the race. When the checkered flag was displayed after 400.5-miles of racing, Mears and his GEICO team managed to hustle to a 26th place finish.
Today's effort makes Germain Racing one of just four teams to have completed all 27 races, a major feat in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. Mears also remains 24th in the point standings, just ahead of Martin Truex, Jr., Tony Stewart and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
"Today was a tough race and we battled the car most of the afternoon, but it got better there at the end," Mears said. "The GEICO crew worked really hard and it came around later in the race, but we still have some work to do and we'll now look forward to getting to Loudon and getting back on track."
Mears and his GEICO team will now head north to New England for race number 28 of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, September 19th, at 12:00 PM (EDT). Qualifying will follow at 4:40 PM (EDT).
The Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, September 21st, and it will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 2:00 PM (EDT). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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To learn more about the GEICO Racing program, please visit: www.caseymearsracing.com
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