Casey Mears and his Germain Racing team arrived in Kansas fresh off of three top-20 finishes in the previous four races. The team has demonstrated significant improvement on intermediate-sized racetracks in 2015 and Kansas offered the opportunity to continue along that path.
Misfortune struck early for Mears during qualifying on Friday afternoon. He was in the middle of what would have been a top-10 qualifying run before his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS cut loose and made heavy contact with the outside wall. Mears would walk away from the hard crash unscathed, but Germain Racing would be forced to summon the back-up car from the team's transporter. This would be the first time in the seven year history of Germain Racing's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program that they would unload the back-up car; nearly unheard of in NASCAR and a testament to Mears' expertise on the racetrack. He would be starting from the rear of the 43-car field when the race went green on Sunday.
Bright skies, a light wind and cool temperatures set the stage for 267-laps of racing on Sunday at Kansas Speedway. Mears and his No. 13 GEICO Chevy took the green flag from the rear of the field, but wasted little time making up ground. While a 'back-up' car may not be the ideal scenario, Mears pedaled around the 1.5-mile facility seemingly unfazed. Aside from the early handling issues and vibrations, the Bakersfield, CA, native made quick work of the field and hustled his way into the top-25. The Germain Racing pit crew made necessary changes during pit stops and assisted Mears with his rapid ascent up the scoring tower.
When the checkered flag flew after an exciting green-white-checkered finish, Mears pedaled the GEICO Chevy across the finish line in the 23rd position, netting 20 spots from where his journey began just three hours earlier. Mears' effort accounts for Germain Racing's 22nd top-25 finish of the 2015 season. He also continues to close the gap on points, where he now sits just 16 points removed Austin Dillon, who rests in the 21st position.
"It's certainly not how you want any weekend to start out, but the guys did a great job of getting the back-up car ready and making changes during the race," Mears said. "Everyone on the GEICO team worked really hard this weekend and I'm glad we were able to sneak out of Kansas with a 23rd place finish. We're looking forward to getting the GEICO Chevy on-track at Talladega next week. We've always had a strong restrictor-plate program here at Germain Racing and everyone is excited to get there and see what we can do."
Germain Racing will now head to Alabama to do battle at the historic 2.66-mile superspeedway located in Lincoln.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Talladega Superspeedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, October 23rd, at 2 PM (ET). Qualifying will take place on Saturday at 4:15 PM (ET) and will air live on NBC Sports.
Mears collects 20 positions enroute to 23rd place finish at Kansas
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