Player Management International Media Release

Richmond, VA (April 26, 2014) –Casey Mears and his GEICO team had a strong weekend in Darlington before enjoying a week off to refresh and catch up on much needed time at home.  With Richmond up next on the 2014 NASCAR schedule, the Germain Racing team was looking to conquer a track that has long given them fits since the team went Sprint Cup Series racing in 2009.

When the first practice session got underway at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, Mears spent the majority of the two-hours in race trim and ended up 34th on the board.  Final practice got underway just an hour later and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS would shoot up the chart and land 16th on the scoring tower when the session closed.  Unfortunately, rain would begin to blanket the Richmond area, forcing the cancellation of qualifying, leaving the starting field to be set according to speeds in the first practice.  Mears would start Saturday night’s race from the 34th position, which would prove challenging on a track where passing can sometimes be a rarity.       

Perfect weather conditions set the stage for Saturday night’s 400-lap event.  While Mears and his GEICO Chevy rolled off of the starting grid from the 34th position, he had penetrated the top 25 by lap 48.  He continued pedaling through the field, appearing to make effortless passes that saw him in the top 20 on lap 77.  On lap 174, Mears and his No. 13 GEICO car were found riding solidly in 13th, capping off a run to the front that saw him collect 21 positions, a rare feat at the Virginia racing facility.

The evening became more interesting during the lap 226 caution when Mears was charged with speeding as he exited pit road.  Consequently, he was instructed to start at the tail end of the longest line, dropping him from the 15th to the 27th position as the green flag set the field back underway.  The No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet made quick progress and Mears re-entered the top 20 on lap 290.  He then felt his blood pressure rise when Denny Hamlin went for a spin on lap 377, forcing Mears to make a right-hand turn to avoid his car as he carefully navigated the smoke. 

With just 18 laps remaining in the advertised distance, Mears and his GEICO machine restarted the race from the 16th position and began charging forward before the No. 9 car of Marcos Ambrose made contact and caused front fender damage that resulted in a tire rub.  As fate would have it, the caution flag waved just a couple of laps later, allowing Mears to visit pit road for four fresh tires and a tank of Sunoco racing fuel.  Unfortunately, most cars did not need to pit, so Mears would be relegated to starting from the 23rd position with just nine laps to go.  Despite the pit stop to refresh the car, Mears lost only seven positions, as the Germain Racing crew made quick work of the #13 GEICO Chevy.  In the final nine laps of the race, Mears put on a show and dramatically moved up four positions to finish 19th and collect Germain Racing’s sixth top 20 finish of the young 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. 

“It was a lot of fun to drive such a fast racecar tonight and be able to do what I needed to do,” Mears said.  “The guys on this GEICO team have worked really hard and I’m glad we were able to come to Richmond and have a strong night.  The car got better during the race and we were able to run solidly up front.”  He continued, “We always run well and have fun at the restrictor-plate tracks, so we’re obviously looking forward to arriving in Talladega and getting the GEICO Chevy unloaded next week.  GEICO is sponsoring the October race at ‘Dega (GEICO 500), so I’m sure we’ll have some folks on-hand next week as they begin to prepare for the Fall race.  Should be fun.” 

Mears and his GEICO team will now travel to Talladega, AL, to take part in the season’s second restrictor-plate race.  Mears’ drafting skills are well documented and he often finds himself at the front of the field at each of these events. 

In addition to his racing duties, Mears will be making a personal appearance at the GEICO display at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 4th, from 9:00 AM – 9:20 AM (CDT).  He will be talking with fans and available for autographs and photos. 

Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Talladega Superspeedway for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, May 2nd, at 2:00 PM (EDT).  Qualifying will follow on Saturday afternoon at 1:10 PM (EDT).

The Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, May 4th, 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, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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