Casey Mears makes 400th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at the Brickyard

Player Management International Media Release

Indianapolis, IN (July 27, 2014) – Casey Mears and his GEICO team returned to action in Indianapolis after enjoying the last off-weekend of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.  Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always been a favorite of the Mears family for the obvious reasons, but for Casey in particular, as he held the track qualifying record for nine years before Ryan Newman beat his time in 2013.  Given the history of the Mears family at the famed speedway, it only made sense that Casey’s 400th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start would fall on Sunday at the Brickyard, a place where the Mears name is omnipresent. 

While the Germain Racing crew arrived for practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday refreshed and ready to get to work, they were taken aback when they found themselves behind the eight ball early in the weekend.

The result of the opening practice session was cause for concern after Mears and his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS sat 34th on the board at its conclusion.  It was discovered that there was a problem with the ride height sensor, which left crew chief Bootie Barker and his engineering staff with inaccurate information.  Despite the setback, Barker and his engineers managed to gain some control of the car and when qualifying rolled around, Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevy sped around the historic 2.5-mile oval in just 48.986-seconds, placing him 26th on the starting grid, a considerable improvement over practice.

Weather threatened the Indianapolis area on race day, but, aside from some intermittent light rain, Mother Nature did not play a role in Sunday’s event.  Mears rolled off of the starting grid in the 26th position, but immediately began losing positions in bulk and found himself in the 33rd position by lap two and just five laps later he bottomed out in 42nd.  A splitter issue hindered Mears’ progress early on, causing him to lose significant ground at the start of the race.  The splitter was too high, aggravating the handling of the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS.  Mears welcomed the competition caution on lap 20 and quickly traveled down pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, a tank of Sunoco Racing fuel and major adjustments.  He restarted 41st when the race went back to green on lap 26.  

Mears continued to battle his GEICO Chevy until halfway through the 160-lap race when the car seemed to come around and soothe the nerves of a frustrated driver.  He had moved up to 31st and, after being two laps down to the leader, he had regained a lap to the field and now sat just a single lap removed from rejoining the lead lap cars.  The sun would come out later, causing the car to experience a tight condition that would plague the team for much of the afternoon.  While the 400-mile race started out as a challenge for the Germain Racing organization, Mears and his crew would persevere and salvage a 33rd place finish, which continues their run of races completed.  The GEICO team has now taken the checkered flag at all 20 races in the 2014 season, an accomplishment in and of itself. 

“We got behind early in the weekend when we had the issue with the ride height sensor, but recovered enough to qualify better than we practiced,” Mears said.  “It was frustrating today because somehow the splitter was too high when we started the race which made the No. 13 GEICO Chevy hard to handle.  I lost a lot of positions, but fortunately the guys kept working hard and we were able to make up some ground later in the race.  We’re ready to put this one behind us and get to Pocono.” 

Mears and the GEICO team will visit Pocono for the second time this season when they arrive in Long Pond, PA, next week.                                                      
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Pocono Raceway for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, August 1st, at 11:00 AM (EDT).  Qualifying will follow at 3:40 PM (EDT) and will air live on Fox Sports 1.

The 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, August 3rd, and it will be televised live on ESPN 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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