With just three races remaining on the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, Casey Mears and Germain Racing blew into the Lone Star State looking to finish strong as the season continues to wind down. The weekend started off as planned, with Mears hustling around Texas Motor Speedway at a blistering pace, turning in fast speeds in both practice and qualifying.
When practice got underway on Friday, an expeditious Mears zipped around the 1.5-mile oval quick enough to place his No. 13 GEICO Military Chevrolet SS 10th on the speed chart when the session came to a close. He continued turning heads when Sprint Cup Series qualifying got underway on Friday evening. The speedy veteran traveled around the north Texas facility in a prompt 28.238-seconds, at a speed of 191.232-miles per hour, advancing to the second round and landing his GEICO Military Chevy 13th on Sunday's starting grid.
Before Sunday's race would see a green flag, it would first be forced to endure a six-hour rain delay that turned the afternoon event into a night race. When things got started under dark skies and bright lights, Mears and his No. 13 GEICO Military Chevy set sail from the 13th position. With rain moving toward the Fort Worth area, teams were uncertain if they would see the completion of the full 334-laps/501-miles.
While Mears made immediate progress, his GEICO Military Chevy became tight, which left him at odds with his racecar. The Germain Racing pit crew would later make adjustments that freed up the car and allowed Mears to regain speed and begin gathering up lost real estate.
Unfortunately, misfortune would strike with just 71 laps left in the advertised distance. Kevin Harvick made contact with the No. 3 car of Austin Dillon, causing a chain reaction that saw the No. 44 car of Brian Scott slam into the rear of Mears' GEICO Military Chevrolet SS, sending him hard into the grass. The contact with the infield grass caused the destruction of the frontend of Mears No. 13 machine and forced him to the garage where he would remain for the balance of the evening. When rain ultimately halted the racing action 293 laps into the scheduled 334, Mears was credited with a 39th place finish.
"The GEICO Military Chevy was pretty fast all weekend, but we got really tight there at the beginning of the race, which set us back quite a bit," Mears said. "We were able to get it freed up and were fast from time to time. I thought we were going to be able to get a solid finish, but when the 4 (Harvick) and 3 (A. Dillon) got together, everyone checked up and I got drilled by the 44 car (Scott). It was a tough way to end the weekend, but it was great to run the GEICO Military paint scheme and also have Duracell Military on our decklid and pay tribute to our service members as we head into Veteran's Day weekend at Phoenix."
Mears and Germain Racing will now head west to Phoenix, Arizona, for race number 34 of 36 of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Military Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Phoenix International Raceway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, November 11th, at 1:30 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 6:45 PM (ET).
The Can-Am 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, November 13th, and it will be televised live on NBC beginning at 2:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.