Friday, Sep 30

Mears Top-13 run interrupted by late-race 18 car crash

Casey Mears and Germain Racing arrived in Dover looking to keep the momentum going from their solid weekend in Kansas. Mears would start 26th at the Monster Mile after qualifying was canceled on Friday, but he only remained there momentarily once the green flag began Sunday's race. Mears immediately moved the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS forward, collecting positions in pairs. He ran in the top-15 for the bulk of the day and was in the 13th position when he was collected in an 18-car crash that occurred with just 46 laps remaining in the 400-lap event. Despite receiving heavy damage and spending 24-laps behind the wall, Mears returned to the racing surface with 22-laps to go and managed to collect a 26th place finish.
"We had a great run today, the kind of day we needed to have, and it was fun to run up front all afternoon. The GEICO Chevy was fast and the Germain Racing crew gained me positions on pit road nearly every stop," Mears said after the race. "I'm not sure what caused me to shoot up  the track like that; my car just took off. Not sure if I had a flat tire or if something broke." He continued, "Today is a race that we will build on as we move forward. Everyone did a good job, the car had speed and we were strong on pit road."
Mears and the Germain Racing team were dealt a bit of a blow when rain blanketed the Dover area on Friday and forced the cancellation of qualifying, leaving them to start Sunday's race from the 26th position. However, final practice on Saturday served as clear indication the GEICO Chevy would have speed come race day, as Mears ended up 20th on the speed charts at its conclusion.
When the green flag turned the field loose for 400-laps of racing on Sunday, Mears immediately began hustling the No. 13 GEICO Chevy around the fast, high-banked oval, passing cars and breaking into the top-20 by lap 10. He ultimately penetrated the top-15 and remained there for the lion's share of the afternoon. While Mears executed on the racetrack, the GEICO pit crew reciprocated on pit road, gaining their driver a position on nearly every pit stop.
Germain Racing seemed poised for a top-10 finish as the race began to wind down, but cars would begin stacking up on the restart that took place with just 46-laps remaining. Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet had trouble accelerating when the green flag flew, causing cars to begin making contact. Mears was slammed against the inside wall by a group of crashing racecars before being shot up the racetrack and making hard contact with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. When the smoke settled, 18-cars had been involved and Mears had significant damage to the right-front side of the GEICO Chevy, along with heavy damage at the rear of the car.
Mears was forced to pull into the garage where the Germain Racing crew would be able to make repairs in an effort to return the battered Chevy to the race. They worked quickly and effectively, allowing Mears to rejoin the field with 22 laps to go. 24 laps in arrears, the GEICO driver pedaled hard around the one-mile facility and, despite the heavy damage to his car, was able to score a 26th place finish when the checkered flag closed out 400-miles of tight-quarters racing action.
Mears and Germain Racing will now turn their attention to NASCAR's All-Star weekend.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the event's sole practice session on Friday, May 20th, at 1:30 PM (ET).
The Sprint Showdown NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Friday, May 20th, and it will be televised live on FS1 beginning at 7:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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