MEARS AND GEICO TEAM BACK ON TRACK WITH 17TH PLACE FINISH AT FONTANA

Player Management International Media Release

Fontana, CA (March 20, 2016) – The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series arrived in Fontana, CA, this weekend for their third and final installment of March’s west coast swing. It was a homecoming of sorts for Casey Mears, who hails from Bakersfield, CA, which sits approximately 150-miles away.

Racing in his backyard is a favorite of the GEICO driver and his effort in practice indicated so. Mears hustled the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS around the 2-mile D-shaped oval fast enough to end up 8th on the board when the weekend’s opening practice session came to a close. He later qualified 23rd after touring the facility in just 38.757-seconds, at a speed of 185.773-miles per hour. Saturday saw Mears and the GEICO Chevy in the top-10 in the morning practice session, where they finished up ninth quick.

On Sunday, Mears started the race from the 23rd position. After dropping to 27th on the third lap, he quickly rebounded and soon had the No. 13 GEICO Chevy back in the top-20. A frightening moment occurred during the lap 120 caution, when the crew found themselves face-to-face with fire after a hot lugnut made contact with gasoline, causing flames to erupt on the left rear of the racecar. It was extinguished quickly and no one was injured. Shortly after his dance with fire, Mears went on a tear with 56-laps to go in the 200-lap event that saw him charge up to 11th place before tires got the best of him as the race wound down. The race would extend into overtime after a yellow flag was displayed with just two laps remaining in the advertised distance. On the final restart of the day, Mears took off from 21st, but collected four positions in the final two laps of the overtime finish to take the checkered flag in the 17th position.

Atop Mears’ pit wagon during the race was the unified middleweight champion, and pound-for-pound best boxer in the world, Gennady Golovkin, a fighter whose spirit matches that of the Germain Racing team.

“The GEICO Chevy was fast today and it really took off there in the last 50 or so laps. It was fun to drive through the field and get to the front,” Mears said. “The tire fall-off was huge, so about 18-laps into a run I found myself sliding all over the place. My focus today was to keep the car off of the wall because a lot of guys were hitting the outside wall and I knew if I could avoid that, we would be competitive. The guys did a nice job on pit road today and it feels good to have a solid finish after a tough couple of weeks in Vegas and Phoenix.” He added, “It was great having Gennady (Golovkin) on the pit wagon and supporting us during the race today. Our team always fights really hard and it was nice having a guy there who is a champion and has that same type of toughness. He’s a great guy and we appreciate his support.”

After three weeks of touring the west coast, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will enjoy a week off before returning to action in Martinsville, VA.

Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Martinsville Speedway for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, April 1st, at 11:00 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 4:15 PM (ET).

The STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, April 3rd, and it will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 1:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Please visit www.GEICO.com to learn how you could save money on more than just auto insurance.

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

To learn more about Germain Racing, please visit: www.germainracing.com

 

MEARS’ PHOENIX RUN TRIPPED UP BY MELTED MASTER SWITCH

Player Management International Media Release

Avondale, AZ (March 13, 2016) – As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series continued its west coast swing, Casey Mears and Germain Racing entered Phoenix International Raceway looking to get back on-track after a challenging visit to Las Vegas.  Unfortunately, a faulty master switch would melt and leave Germain Racing with a 35th place finish in the valley of the sun.

“We had a tough weekend and this year has not gotten off to the start that we would’ve liked.  We’ve had a lot of speed, but just need to put a whole race together,” Mears said.  “Everyone on this GEICO team is working hard and I feel certain we will break through, but we need to keep pushing and working hard and we’ll be fine.  We can get it back in Fontana, it’s just hard to swallow right now.”

Mears qualified 25th on Friday and when the race went green on Sunday afternoon, he looked to move the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS forward through the field.  After celebrating his birthday a day earlier, the Bakersfield, CA, native stood hard on the gas, as he attempted to gain ground while battling a handling condition.  While Mears persevered initially, a faulty master switch would later betray him after he reported on lap 127 that his GEICO Chevy had lost power.  He was able to get the car re-fired, but just four laps later, he again lost power and found himself scrambling down pit road.

After an attempt to fix the issue in the pit stall, the team would be forced to pull behind the wall on lap 154.  The Germain pit crew worked feverishly to repair the car and even Mears would assist, as he held tools while car chief Billy Plourde climbed through the passenger-side window to install a new switch.  The team acted quickly and Mears rejoined the field on lap 169, where he was scored 37 laps in arrears, in the 37thposition.  The GEICO team continued to work hard and managed to gather two positions before the checkered flag closed out the racing action at Phoenix International Raceway.

NASCAR’s west coast tour continues and the No. 13 Germain Racing team will next pay a visit to southern California.  The 2-mile D-shaped oval in Fontana sits just 150-miles removed from Mears’ hometown of Bakersfield, CA.

Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track in Fontana, CA, for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, March 18th, at 1:30 PM (ET).  Qualifying will follow at 7:45 PM (ET).

The Fontana NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 20th, 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.

Please visit www.GEICO.com to learn how you could save money on more than just auto insurance.

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

To learn more about Germain Racing, please visit: www.germainracing.com

RESILIENCE KEY IN MEARS’ 23RD PLACE LAS VEGAS FINISH

Player Management International Media Release 

Las Vegas, NV (March 6, 2016) – Casey Mears and Germain Racing unloaded their No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS in Las Vegas a week after recording their best-ever result at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  The team has clearly made progress on intermediate racetracks and that trend would continue as practice got underway at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series would be afforded a test session on Thursday prior to the start of the race weekend.  Crew chief Bootie Barker and his team took full advantage, as they sharpened their pencils and took good notes.  On Friday during qualifying, Mears advanced to the second round, hustling his GEICO Chevy around the high-speed racetrack in just 27.989-seconds, at a speed of 192.933-miles per hour, placing him 22nd on Sunday’s Kobalt 400 starting grid.

Mears and his GEICO team wasted little time getting to work on Saturday morning, where they not only recorded the third fastest time in practice, but also ended up with the third fastest 10-lap average.  Just a couple of hours later, Mears and his GEICO Chevy went on another tear around the fast 1.5-mile oval and sat at the top of the board, in the eighth position, when the weekend’s final practice session concluded.

A series of different weather conditions were on-hand for Sunday’s race.  Heavy winds and rain provided a short delay before drivers climbed into their cars and headed out to the racing surface to battle door-to-door for 267-laps.  Mother Nature would soon turn it into a chamber of commerce day before reverting to the heavy winds and rain as the race came to a close.  Mears and the GEICO Chevy rolled off of the starting grid from the 22nd position, but made immediate progress, picking up four positions in the opening four laps before taking over 17th place on lap 11.

Mears was charging hard before the competition caution came on lap 31.  Scored in the 18th position, he traveled down pit road, where his GEICO machine received four fresh tires and a full tank of Sunoco racing fuel.  Unfortunately, he would lose three positions during the stop and restart the race from 21st when it returned to green on lap 35.  At a facility where passing is at a premium, Mears did his best to recapture lost real estate and would work his way back into the top-20, in the 19th position, before the next round of pit stops.  On lap 83, Mears brought the No. 13 GEICO Chevy to pit road for a scheduled green flag stop.  The Germain Racing pit crew provided him with four tires and fuel and returned him to the racing surface in the 24th position.  When the race returned to green, Mears would once again be forced to regain ground after losing five positions on pit road.  This time, however, passing would become even more challenging and Mears struggled to pick up positions as the race wore on.

Problems would strike the team on pit road for a third time during a scheduled green flag stop on lap 143 when Mears’ car wheel-hopped on entry to pit road, causing him to accidentally pass the GEICO pit stall and forcing him to travel down pit road at the pit road speed limit before coming around again and making it in for his service on lap 144.  The crew sent him off with four new tires and fuel, but the team was left three laps down to the field.

Despite the setback, the GEICO crew and driver remained focused and talked calmly and intently about how to recover from the setbacks.  Barker and Mears chatted confidently over the team’s radio frequency about potential adjustments to the car, as well as a strategy for getting back on the lead lap.

While it seemed like a longshot to return to the lead lap, Barker continued to employ a strategy that saw Mears and the GEICO Chevy take multiple wavearounds, as well as a pit stop on lap 218, where the team gambled and took just two tires.  Their resilience was rewarded and the team had Mears running in the free pass position by lap 223.  While at one point it seemed unlikely that Mears would be able to return to the lead lap and chase a solid finish, with just 42 laps to go, the yellow flag waved, returning the GEICO Chevy to the lead lap and marking an improbable comeback by the Germain Racing team.

Their persistence paid off and after turning in two strong pit stops as the race wound down, team and driver had recovered and departed Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a lead lap, 23rd place finish, improving upon their effort a year ago when they ended the race three laps down and finished 25th.

“Obviously, we had a tough day on pit road, but we worked hard and never quit and were focused on getting back on the lead lap.  When you’re three laps down, it can seem overwhelming, but these guys never give up and the entire time we just kept talking strategy and how we were going to make it happen; there was never any negative talk,” Mears said.  “I can’t thank everyone on this GEICO team enough for their hard work and persistence.  We’ve always been resilient and today we showed the heart of Germain Racing.  There were some negatives today, but there were way more positives that we’ll take with us when we leave here and head to Phoenix.  The GEICO Chevy was fast all weekend, just as it was in Atlanta last week, and you could see the speed in the car and the gains we’re making on these intermediate tracks.  We’re focused on Phoenix and know we can go there and perform well.  Adversity always shows you who you are and today we showed, once again, that we never quit and fight to the end, and it paid off.  I’m proud of these guys.”

The Mears Gang will continue their west coast swing when they head to Phoenix, AZ, next week.

Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Phoenix International Raceway for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, March 11th, at 12:30 PM (ET).  Qualifying will follow at 6:45 PM (ET).

The Good Sam 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 13th, 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.

Please visit www.GEICO.com to learn how you could save money on more than just auto insurance.

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

To learn more about Germain Racing, please visit: www.germainracing.com