[media-credit name=”kansasspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”158″][/media-credit]Kansas City, KS (April 22, 2012) – When Casey Mears and the GEICO team unloaded their #13 Ford Fusion at Kansas Speedway for practice on Friday, they quickly found themselves in a battle. While qualifying also fell short of expectations, Sunday proved more fruitful for the GEICO team, as Mears and his pit crew changed the course of the weekend and persevered for a solid finish.
After qualifying 40th for the STP 400, Mears and the #13 GEICO Fusion had their work cut out for them when the green flag set the field underway for 267 laps of racing. Mears’ initial run proved challenging for the Bakersfield, CA, native, who at one point, radioed in to his crew chief Bootie Barker, “We have never been this bad.” Nevertheless, he battled hard and had improved by eight positions when green flag pit stops got underway on lap 45. The Germain Racing pit crew would complement Mears’ on-track efforts when they quickly outfitted him with four fresh Goodyear tires, a full tank of Sunoco racing fuel and much needed adjustments.
The adjustments made during Mears’ pit stop were evident, as he began making his way through the field. He continued to battle an ill-handling racecar, but fought through it and quickly made his way into the top 25. With just 10 laps to go in the 400-mile race, Mears radioed to Barker: “Are we close on fuel? It feels like we’re running out… the car is going flat.” Barker notified the GEICO driver that his fuel supply was sufficient. Despite the unexpected issue in the closing laps, Mears and his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion held on to a solid 26th place finish. The finish helped Germain Racing to sharpen its claws and further entrench themselves in the coveted ‘Top 35’. They currently rest 28th in the Owner Point standings and hold a comfortable 47 point lead over 36th position.
“This is the most we’ve been off in a long time. We just really struggled the whole weekend,” Mears said after climbing from his GEICO Fusion. “We threw a totally different setup at it for the race kind of hoping to learn something before the weekend was out and we did, but it was too far off in the beginning. We got it better through the middle, but we didn’t finish well at all and it didn’t go our way. For sure, this is the most we’ve been off since we started this year.” He continued, “We’re really looking forward to getting to Richmond next week and running well. We always like going there because it is only 100-miles from GEICO’s corporate office and we have the opportunity to sign autographs for their associates and interact with them the week of the race. DRIVE SMART Virginia will also be aboard to help promote Distracted Driving Awareness month.”
April is Distracted Driving Awareness month and DRIVE SMART Virginia will join Mears on his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion in Richmond to promote their anti-distracted driving message.
DRIVE SMART Virginia’s mission is to educate drivers and raise traffic safety awareness in order to save lives and reduce injuries on the roadways of Virginia. DRIVE SMART Virginia was founded in 1995 and its Board of Directors includes leaders from private industry, state and federal government, law enforcement, military, media, and traffic safety organizations.
Next week, Mears and the GEICO team will play in the Gecko’s backyard when they race in Richmond, VA. Mears and his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion will hit the track at Richmond International Raceway for the opening practice session on Friday, April 27th, at 12:00 PM (EDT). Qualifying will follow at 5:35 PM (EDT).
The Richmond NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Saturday, April 28th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 7:00 PM (EDT). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
To learn more about the GEICO racing program, please visit: www.caseymearsracing.com
You can also follow GEICO Racing on Twitter: www.twitter.com/geicoracing
Please visit the Casey Mears Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/caseymearsracing