Player Management International Media Release

Avondale, AZ (March 15, 2015) – Three races were in the books in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season when Casey Mears arrived at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend.  Germain Racing was looking to continue making gains in the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS.
Practice got underway on Friday afternoon and Mears found himself battling a loose condition in the weekend’s opening session.  The Sprint Cup Series was armed with a new tire that was significantly different than the tire previously used at the one-mile oval, which presented its challenges.  At the conclusion of practice, Mears sat in the 22nd position before later qualifying 24th for Sunday’s 500. 

Bright sunshine and heated temperatures blanketed the Phoenix area on race day, creating the perfect setting for the door-to-door battles that would occur over 312-miles of racing.  Mears started from the 24th position, but moved the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS to 17th on the opening lap, remaining strong until the second caution flag of the day waved on lap 14.  Mears radioed to crew chief, Bootie Barker, “I’m a little bit tight center.”  He then brought his GEICO Chevy to the attention of his Germain Racing pit crew, who quickly provided him with four fresh tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.  Mears’ pit crew would be on-point during the race, picking up positions on pit road more often than not.  Given that he was one of just a few cars that pitted, he would restart 29th on lap 19.

Any tightness that he may have experienced was gone, as Mears began to, almost immediately, battle a loose condition that would plague him most of the day.  He asked Barker several times if there was an issue with the new tires.  When the caution flag waved on lap 116, tire specialist Bryan Kincheloe did indeed discover that Mears’ right-front tire was going down.  Over the course of the second half of the race, Mears and his GEICO Chevy began making up ground, running top-ten lap times and remained on the lead lap for the entire event.  In a collaborative effort, Mears picked up positions on the racetrack while the GEICO crew got him on and off of pit road with maximum efficiency.  A day of hustle saw Mears take the checkered flag in the 20th position and record the team’s third top-20 finish in the season’s first four races.  Mears and Germain Racing departed Phoenix International Raceway this afternoon sitting 12th in the point standings, just two points removed from the top-10.      

“The No. 13 GEICO Chevy started off strong and I was able to pick up several spots on the first lap, but after that first pit stop the car got really loose and I was battling it hard,” Mears said.  “After the race, the guys found an issue with the right rear, which was reassuring because it explained why the car drove like something was wrong with it.  The Germain Racing pit crew did a really good job on pit road today and that helped a lot as we worked to make up ground.  Despite struggling with the car, we were able to stay on the lead lap all day and get a solid finish.”

Germain Racing will now head to Fontana, CA, where they will wrap up their month of March west coast swing.                                                  
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Auto Club Speedway for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, March 20th, at 3:00 PM (ET).  Qualifying will follow at 7:50 PM (ET). 

The Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 22nd, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 3:30 PM (ET).  The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90. 

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