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

MEARS AND GEICO TEAM TRIUMPH AT ATLANTA WITH TOP-15 FINISH

Player Management International Media Release

HAMPTON, Ga. (February 28, 2016) – With a new low down force package on display for the first mile and a half race of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Racing team knew the race would come down to tire management. But no one on pit road expected the opening 211 laps to be caution free, forcing numerous green flag pit stops. Mears took care of his fresh rubber, while the Germain Racing pit crew turned in a strong day on pit road, combining for a solid afternoon that saw the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS cross the finish line in the 14th position.

When the race weekend got underway, the Germain Racing team got off to a quick start at a track that previously caused them headaches. On Friday evening, Mears qualified his GEICO Chevrolet in the 15th starting position after advancing to the second round and zipping around the 1.54-mile oval in just 29.156-seconds, at a rate of speed of 190.150-miles per hour. He provided an encore performance on Saturday by posting the eighth fastest time during final practice.

As the sun heated the Georgia intermediate track, Mears saw the green flag wave and quickly collected a position and moved to 14th before reporting to his Germain Racing team that the car was plowing tight in the center of the corners. The veteran driver continued to complete laps while crew chief Bootie Barker encouraged his driver to give the GEICO machine time to come around. Barker’s advice rang true and Mears continued to run strong in his GEICO Chevy as the laps clicked off.

The first 211 laps were caution-free, forcing Mears to make five green flag pit stops before the first yellow flag was displayed for debris on the track. During this long stretch of racing, Barker never made any substantial handling adjustments to the GEICO Chevrolet, as Mears consistently clocked times faster than his competitors while running inside the top-20. As the field restarted on lap 218, only 11 cars remained on the lead lap, leaving Mears battling a handful of other cars for the lucky dog award.

With 40 laps remaining, Mears delivered the GEICO Chevy to his crew for the final pit stop of the afternoon and soon after reported to his team that he felt a vibration inside the cockpit. “You’re doing good man, just hang on to it until the end,” encouraged Barker. The veteran driver did just that as he ran solidly in the 16th position, but he collected two spots on the final lap to bring home a 14th place finish and record the team’s best-ever result at the fast, high-banked oval. This is also Mears’ best finish at Atlanta since 2008, when he piloted the No. 5 entry for Hendrick Motorsports.

“The GEICO Racing team worked hard all weekend and we were rewarded with a solid finish today,” said Mears after the race. “I didn’t think we would go caution-free for as long as we did in the beginning, but our car was actually pretty good during that stretch. The clean air during the stops helped our car stay loose with the air on the nose. Once we had to restart in the traffic, the car would get tight. But overall, this is a great way to start the season and hopefully we continue to build off this.”

After a tire came apart and ruined his day in Daytona and left him 31st in the point standings, Mears rebounded well in Atlanta and jumped eight spots to now rest in the 23rd position.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will now head to the west coast for three weeks of racing action, beginning with the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 6th.

Prior to the race weekend getting underway, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be afforded a test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Thursday from noon – 6 PM (ET).

Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, March 4th, at 1:30 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 7:45 PM (ET).

The Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 6th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 3:30 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) 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