Player Management International Media Release 

SPARTA, Ky. (July 8, 2017) – Each and every race weekend, drivers and teams are in control of many variables that will impact their performance, but there is always one element that is out of any person’s control – the weather. And Mother Nature decided to roar her ugly head on Friday evening for the second consecutive week, only an hour before the scheduled start of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Due to the magnitude of the severe storms in the Sparta region, NASCAR was forced to postpone the 200-lap event until Saturday afternoon.

Under clear and sunny skies, Casey Mears and his Biagi-DenBeste Racing team were ready for battle on Saturday. Rolling from the 25th position, Mears quickly used his veteran skills to miss a multi-car crash on the initial green flag start. With cars spinning directly in front of the nose of the GEICO Military Ford, Mears dodged the accident and only received minor damage to his grill. After pitting for repairs, the seasoned driver restarted from 33rd-place. Within one lap, Mears gained five spots and in just five laps later, the No. 98 machine held the 24th position.

When the scheduled competition caution slowed the pace on lap 26, Mears ran in the 22nd position – a gain of 11 spots in as many circuits. The California-native reported his GEICO Military Ford was “way too loose” as Stage 1 was coming to close, but despite this handling condition, Mears ran in 18th-place on lap 45. During the stage break, crew chief Jon Hanson called Mears to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to help the loose feeling. Once back under green, Mears continued to run inside the top-15 and by lap 100, the No. 98 Mustang took over the 13th position. 

Over the final 100 laps, the GEICO Military Ford continued to be troubled by the loose handling ailment, even though the No. 98 team took every opportunity to make adjustments. “Loose everywhere” was the common chatter on the radio and with 30 laps to go, Mears found himself in 18th-place. In the closing laps, Mears drove the GEICO Military Ford back into the top-15 and crossed the finish line in the 15th position. This is the pairing’s third top-15 effort of their limited 2017 Xfinity Series schedule.

“It was nice to get out of there with a top-15 finish today,” Mears said.  “The Biagi-DenBeste crew worked hard on the car all day and I was able to gradually get to the front.  I was fortunate to miss that first crash at the green flag, which was a little scary since it happened right at the start/finish line.  We’ve been able to rack up some top-15 finishes with the GEICO Military team and we will keep making progress as the season moves along.”

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