In last night's Sprint Unlimited, Casey Mears was quick on the track and skillful in the closing laps, which ultimately resulted in a top-5 finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' season-opening event. He woke up this morning and turned his attention to Daytona 500 qualifying. All along pit road and across media channels, one could hear the chatter about Mears' skillful talent for navigating restrictor-plate tracks. Today's qualifying session also proved that the GEICO driver is pretty fast in single car runs, as well.
With 44 entries in the Daytona 500, Mears would be the 33rd car to take to the high-banked tri-oval to throw his hat in the ring for this year's Great American Race. He charged out of the gate and after laying down a brisk lap of 46.332-seconds, the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS sat an impressive 13th on the scoring tower when the session was complete.
When the Can-Am Duel 150 qualifying races get underway at the World Center of Racing on Thursday, February 18th, Mears and his GEICO Chevy will start from the sixth position. These races will decide the official starting lineup for the 58th running of the Daytona 500.
"It was great to have some speed out there today and 13 is a strong number; it has been good for us. I'm real proud of the guys because they put a lot of work into this race and we wanted to show our speed," Mears said. "It's a great opportunity to show what a team is made out of and I think everyone paid a lot of attention to detail and the work that the GEICO guys did was awesome. To be running in the groups that we're running with here, the guys are doing a really good job back at the shop. We built our own body in-house at Germain Racing with a lot of information from RCR; but the fact that we're able to repeat that and get that close is a testament to how hard those guys work. I appreciate everything they do. Last night was a great time and obviously we've got some speed, so I'm looking forward to the 500."
While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will enjoy a two-day break before returning to the track for practice on Wednesday, Mears' schedule is full. He will make an appearance at a GEICO regional office on Monday before taking part in Daytona 500 Media Day on Tuesday.
The Can-Am Duel 150 qualifying races will be held on Thursday, February 18th, beginning at 7 PM (ET). They will be televised live on FoxSports1.
The Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, February 21st, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 1:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.