Mears ends up 27th after long day at Indianapolis

For the last nine years, Casey Mears has held the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track qualifying record at Indianapolis, while his uncle Rick boasts four Indianapolis 500 wins at the famed racing facility.  The heart of Indiana is a special place for the famous racing family, which always leaves the younger Mears excited to make his arrival. 

Casey Mears got to work early this week, when on Thursday he made an appearance at a newly opened GEICO office in the Indianapolis area.  He spent time visiting with associates, signing autographs and taking photos.  He got down to business a day later when he arrived at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for practice and qualifying.  

Mears first practice session on Friday was tough, as he ended up 31st on the board.  Fortunately, Saturday brought better news when the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion rested 21st at the end of the weekend’s final practice session.  Mears would later qualify 30th for Sunday’s race after circling the 2.5-mile racetrack in 48.979-seconds.

Bright sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s set the scene for Sunday’s 400-mile race at the Brickyard.  Mears rolled off 30th and quickly made up ground, moving into the 26th position by lap six.  At a track where passing is at a premium, coupled with the fact that only three caution flags were displayed throughout the entire 160-lap race, Mears would find his day frustrating.  Long green flag runs left little time to make adjustments to the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion and track position was tough to achieve.  

On lap 54, Mears was sitting 13th in the Lucky Dog position, but after no yellow flag showed up, he was forced to visit pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop.  It seemed as though good fortune may have found him when the caution flag came out just after Mears and his GEICO Ford exited pit road.  Crew chief Bootie Barker instructed him to take the wave-around, which would allow Mears to return to the lead lap.  Unfortunately, leader Jimmie Johnson elected to stay out and not visit pit road under the caution, which would ultimately preclude Mears from taking the wave-around. 

When the day came to a close, Mears finished 27th, just behind the Fords of Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., but one spot ahead of the #21 Motorcraft Ford of Trevor Bayne.

“It was a challenging day and the long green flag runs and lack of cautions made it tough on everyone.  It’s also hard to pass here, which didn’t help,” Mears said after climbing from his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion.  “We have a great group of guys on this GEICO team and we’ll be ready for Pocono.  Long day here today and we’re ready to move on to the next race.”

Mears and the Germain Racing team will now travel to Long Pond, PA, for race number 21 of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.