Watkins Glen, NY (August 7, 2016) - This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made its annual visit to the Finger Lakes region of New York when the group arrived in Watkins Glen for the final road course race of the 2016 season.
Casey Mears settled in quickly and when Friday's opening practice session came to a close, the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS was third on the chart, an indication the Germain Racing team had speed heading into the race weekend. When qualifying got underway on Saturday, Mears navigated the twists and turns of Watkins Glen International in a prompt 70.825-seconds, at a speed of 124.532-miles per house, earning him the 20th starting spot in Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at the Glen.
The green flag turned the field loose in front of sold out grandstands on Sunday afternoon. Mears and his GEICO Chevy were strong from the moment the race got underway. He ran solidly at the front of the field in the opening 23 laps, but pit strategy would leave him back in the 30thposition until the 90-lap event passed the halfway point. The most dramatic part of the team's day came on lap 54 when cars began crashing and the skillful Mears avoided peril by the narrowest of margins. Over the team's radio frequency, Mears said, "I have no idea how I made it through that." The crafty veteran managed to pedal through a carnage-ridden area of the racetrack with relative ease.
Crew Chief Bootie Barker's strategy would ultimately payoff, as Mears and the GEICO Chevy found themselves in the top-5 on lap 57. As the race began to wind down, the Bakersfield, CA, native continued his charge around the upstate New York racing circuit and when the checkered flag closed out 90-laps of door-to-door racing action, Mears had collected a 12th place finish.
"It was nice to have some speed and put the GEICO car up front," Mears said. "Everyone was solid today; the pit crew did a good job on pit road and Bootie's strategy worked out well. This is the type of day that we needed to have. We've had some challenging races this year, so I am happy we were able to come here and turn in a strong day for GEICO and everyone at Germain Racing. This is a great way to head into our last off-week of the season. We are looking forward to the break so everyone can catch their breath and recharge."
Germain Racing will now enjoy the final off-week of the 2016 season before returning to action at the World's Fastest Half-Mile.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Bristol Motor Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, August 19th, at 10:00 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 5:45 PM (ET).
The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is on Saturday, August 20th, and it will be televised live on NBC Sports Network beginning at 8:00 PM (ET). The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
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