While Long Pond, PA, is a favorite stop among the NASCAR community, the weather during its 2016 visits has proved challenging. The Axalta 400 in June was pushed to a Monday and now the July event followed suit. Casey Mears and the GEICO team experienced a quick start to the weekend after showing speed during practice on Friday, but Mother Nature proved herself as a formidable foe when race time arrived.
Mears was 18th fastest in the opening practice session and looked sporty in qualifying after he advanced to the second round and placed the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 20th on the Pennsylvania 400 starting grid.
Race day was more challenging, as rain blanketed the Long Pond area and was relentless in its effort to water down the racetrack. Ultimately, the precipitation prevailed and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was forced to return to Pocono Raceway on Monday to settle the scheduled 160-laps and 400-miles.
When the race finally saw the green flag on Monday afternoon, a large crowd was on-hand to take in the action. Mears and his GEICO Chevy rolled off of the grid from the 20th position, but would ultimately find themselves in the top-15 and top-10 during the race. He would even briefly take over as the leader with just 34 laps remaining before heading to pit road for tires and fuel. The Germain Racing pit crew was diligent in their work over the course of the afternoon and at one point garnered significant television exposure after gaining nine positions during a single stop. Unfortunately, heavy fog would roll into the area, bringing out the red flag with just 22 laps to go in the event. Following a lengthy delay, NASCAR would deem it a complete race and Mears and his GEICO team would be left with a 21st place finish.
"It was a long weekend, especially since we had to test Watkins Glen last week just after Indy and then fly straight to Pocono. I appreciate all of the hard work by our Germain Racing guys," Mears said. "The GEICO Chevy had some speed this weekend and we ran strong during the race, but the weather ended up causing the race to get called, leaving us with a 21st place finish, which isn't the result we deserved. It's hard to accept, but we will head to Watkins Glen and focus on a strong run up there."
Next up for Germain Racing is a trip to Watkins Glen, NY, for the season's second and final road course race on the schedule. Just last week, Mears and the GEICO team experienced a successful two-day test at the newly paved 2.45-mile racing circuit.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Watkins Glen International for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, August 5th, at 12:30 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Saturday at 12:15 PM (ET).