Mears opened the weekend by ending up 26th on the speed chart in the series’ first practice session on Friday. He would then move on to qualifying where he toured the newly paved and configured one-mile oval in 26.625-seconds, a strong lap considering the bright sunshine that blanketed the racetrack. Mere moments after the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion departed the racing surface, clouds rolled in and the temperature cooled, allowing subsequent drivers to break track qualifying records. Mears would start from the 25th position, just one spot to the rear of close friend, Jimmie Johnson.
A sold out crowd at Phoenix International Raceway showed up to celebrate Veteran’s Day with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Mears and the #13 GEICO Fusion rolled off from the 25th position when the green flag turned the field loose for 312 laps of racing on Sunday afternoon. Immediately faced with a handling issue, Mears radioed in on lap three to crew chief, Bootie Barker, “I’m totally sideways, I have no side grip.” Barker assured him they would rectify the problem once he was able to visit pit road for a scheduled green flag stop. They received the opportunity sooner than later, as the event’s first caution flag flew on lap 16.
Mears would ultimately re-enter the top 25 and depart only briefly during a late-race strategy move that sent the #13 GEICO Fusion down pit road under green on lap 247. Mears’ car continued to get better throughout the race and as the insanity began in Phoenix, he managed to keep his GEICO Fusion clean in the closing laps. The race was red flagged with just two laps to go while a melee ensued in the garage between the teams of Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing after a case of road rage prevailed between drivers Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer. When the event went back to green flag conditions, Mears hustled to a 22nd place finish while also avoiding a last lap crash that collected a handful of his Sprint Cup Series counterparts. When he took the checkered flag, Mears also achieved the team’s 18th top 25 finish of the 2012 season.
“It was definitely an interesting day, especially there at the end when things got a little crazy. I’m proud of our GEICO crew because we took a day that could have otherwise turned out as a challenge and made it a solid effort,” Mears said. “These guys kept working hard to make the GEICO Fusion better and the car ultimately came around, allowing me to make up ground. We’re looking forward to having a productive weekend in Homestead as we end the 2012 season.”
Next weekend, Casey Mears and the Germain Racing team will find themselves in south Florida where they will wrap up the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Mears and the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion will hit the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the opening practice session on Friday, November 16th, at 1:30 PM (EST). Qualifying will follow at 6:10 PM (EST).
The Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, November 18th, and it will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 2:00 PM (EST). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
To learn more about the GEICO Racing program, please visit: www.caseymearsracing.
You can also follow GEICO Racing on Twitter: www.twitter.com/
Please visit the Casey Mears Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/
Source: Player Management International, Inc., for GEICO Racing, Press Release
The post Mears Escapes Wild Phoenix Race with 22nd-Place Finish appeared first on Catchfence.
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