Casey Mears was coming off of a strong run at Pocono when he arrived in upstate New York for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ second road course outing of the season. At the series’ first road course race of the year in Sonoma on June 23rd, the Bakersfield, CA, native turned in a 16th place finish.
Mears was fast on arrival at Watkins Glen International, as his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion sat 5th and 13th in the respective practice sessions on Friday. Unfortunately, a brake issue would stifle his qualifying attempt, leaving him 30th on Sunday’s Cheez-it 355 at The Glen starting grid.
If Mears was affected by his challenging starting position, it wasn’t evident. Rather, he spoke about the strength of his GEICO Ford and his intention of heading to the front of the field when the race went green. A prophet he was because when the race got underway beneath clear skies and bright sunshine, he made immediate progress and quickly found himself in 24th by the 10th lap. Each time a yellow flag was displayed, Mears was immediately ordered to save fuel.
On lap 57, he brought his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion down pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop. Good fortune winked at Mears when the caution flag was displayed just one lap after his service. This would result in his GEICO machine moving up to 10th position when the cars in front of him were forced to visit pit road for tires and fuel. The racing gods continued to smile upon Mears when he narrowly avoided falling victim to a crashing Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., with just nine laps remaining in the 90 lap event. When the checkered flag brought the 220-mile race to a close, Casey Mears recorded a 12th place finish, scoring Germain Racing’s fifth Top 15 finish of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
“It was a good day for our GEICO team. I think after the qualifying effort we had, we had an issue with the brakes unfortunately, and to be able to rebound like that and have a good day showed how strong our team is and made us all happy,” Mears said following the race. “We were able to hang on, stay out of the mess and have a good finish. It worked out well for us.” He continued, “All of our spotters did a great job today. It’s the first time I had anybody through the esses and it was really valuable. It worked out really well and helped me to avoid a lot of the stuff. Fortunately, we were just in the right place to miss it every time, so it was nice to have some good fortune go our way.”
Next week will see Mears in Valvoline livery when his Germain Racing team travels to the Irish Hills of Michigan.
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