After tough races at Richmond and Chicago, Casey Mears and the GEICO Racing team aimed for redemption at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. While the track has caused Germain Racing headaches in past visits, this weekend saw the team rebound from their previous experiences.
Friday left the team hopeful after Mears landed the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 19th on the board in the weekend's opening practice session. He would later tour the Magic Mile in just 27.558-seconds during qualifying, which placed him 25th on the Sylvania 300 starting grid.
The weather forecast played cat and mouse with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series before surrendering and giving way to 303-laps of racing on Sunday afternoon. Mears rolled off 25th when racing action began and during the lap 35 competition caution, crew chief Bootie Barker notified Mears that his lap times were good. By lap 131, Mears had moved the No. 13 GEICO Chevy into the 17th position. Later, when the yellow flag slowed the field on lap 211, Barker and Mears used strategy to gain track position and restarted in the second position when the race returned to green on lap 215. Six laps later, when the caution flag reappeared, Mears was running in the seventh position, but needed to pit since he was off-sequence. He would restart 16th and run solidly in the top-20 for the bulk of the afternoon. The GEICO pit crew was efficient during pit stops, gaining Mears positions on many of his visits, which assisted in his ascent during the course of the race.
The GEICO Chevy had speed and experienced little issue running with the front of the field, as he often turned top-5 lap times. Mears remained on the lead lap for the entire day and crossed the finish line in the 22nd position after the race was decided by a green-white-checker finish. Today's effort is marked improvement from the team's visit to New Hampshire in July, where a mechanical issue left Mears 13 laps down with a 38th place finish. Mears' finish also accounts for Germain Racing's 20th top-25 finish of the 2014 season.
"We had some decent speed today and it was probably the best race we've had there, so all in all it was good and it was nice to get back on track after a couple of tough races," Mears said. "It'll be fun going to Dover next week because it's not far from GEICO and we usually have some of their folks join us at the race. Also, the team is going on a C-17 orientation flight with personnel from Dover Air Force Base, so it's an opportunity for everyone to have some fun and get an appreciation for what our military does on a daily basis."
Mears and his GEICO Chevy will now head to Dover, DE, to do battle with the Monster Mile.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Dover International Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, September 26th, at 11:00 AM (EDT) and it will be televised live on FoxSports1. Qualifying will follow at 3:40 PM (EDT) and will air live on ESPN2.