As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series continued its west coast swing, Casey Mears and Germain Racing entered Phoenix International Raceway looking to get back on-track after a challenging visit to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, a faulty master switch would melt and leave Germain Racing with a 35th place finish in the valley of the sun.
"We had a tough weekend and this year has not gotten off to the start that we would've liked. We've had a lot of speed, but just need to put a whole race together," Mears said. "Everyone on this GEICO team is working hard and I feel certain we will break through, but we need to keep pushing and working hard and we'll be fine. We can get it back in Fontana, it's just hard to swallow right now."
Mears qualified 25th on Friday and when the race went green on Sunday afternoon, he looked to move the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS forward through the field. After celebrating his birthday a day earlier, the Bakersfield, CA, native stood hard on the gas, as he attempted to gain ground while battling a handling condition. While Mears persevered initially, a faulty master switch would later betray him after he reported on lap 127 that his GEICO Chevy had lost power. He was able to get the car re-fired, but just four laps later, he again lost power and found himself scrambling down pit road.
After an attempt to fix the issue in the pit stall, the team would be forced to pull behind the wall on lap 154. The Germain pit crew worked feverishly to repair the car and even Mears would assist, as he held tools while car chief Billy Plourde climbed through the passenger-side window to install a new switch. The team acted quickly and Mears rejoined the field on lap 169, where he was scored 37 laps in arrears, in the 37th position. The GEICO team continued to work hard and managed to gather two positions before the checkered flag closed out the racing action at Phoenix International Raceway.
NASCAR's west coast tour continues and the No. 13 Germain Racing team will next pay a visit to southern California. The 2-mile D-shaped oval in Fontana sits just 150-miles removed from Mears' hometown of Bakersfield, CA.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track in Fontana, CA, for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, March 18th, at 1:30 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 7:45 PM (ET).
The Fontana NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, March 20th, and it will be televised live on FOX beginning at 3:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.