Chasing The Underdogs

Chasing The Underdogs: Casey Mears Overcomes Numerous Issues For Decent Finish


BROOKLYN, M.I. – He may not have been the highest finishing Underdog on Sunday, but Casey Mears had an intriguing way of getting a decent finish in Michigan.

Casey Mears posted the 26th fastest time in qualifying for the Pure Michigan 400, but with how his No. 13 GEICO team had performed in 2014 there was plenty of reason to be optimistic that on race day crew chief Bootie Barker would hit on something to improve the race car.

Mears would start out with a car too loose for his liking, as a result when the field came to the competition yellow on lap 22, Mears decided to take his car to pit road for two tires, fuel and adjustments.

Mears would restart 22nd, and one lap later he was listening to his spotter, Ron Lewis, guide him through a crash ahead that had claimed nine race cars.

Mears would make it through this accident unscathed, and would restart in the 19th position on lap 30.

Under this next run, Mears assessed the changes to his No. 13 Chevrolet.

“The car doesn’t have enough rear grip. In traffic, it’s just way too loose. The adjustment gave me about 75-percent of what I need,” Mears explained on the radio.

The team would continue to fight handling issues all race long, and through the middle portion of the race they would struggle mightily.

With just about 50 laps to go Mears radioed to his team that he believed he had a flat tire. The driver said he ran something over, heard a loud bang and the car began vibrating out of control.

Mears would pit on lap 154, and would subsequently drop to the 23rd position, one lap down.

A rash of cautions would help Mears work his way back up the running order, and at lap 174 Mears had worked his way to 18th just as another crash occurred. Mears would receive the lucky dog free pass under this caution.

Also under this caution Mears reported the vibration gremlin had not been solved on his car, so the team bolted on four more brand new Goodyear tires.

Over the final stretch Mears was able to work his way to the 17th position. This marks the Germain Racing team’s 13th top-20 finish of 2014.

“The GEICO pit crew did a good job on pit road today and we were able to stay out of trouble with the GEICO Chevy. We made the car better throughout the race,” said Mears in a team post-race report. “What we learned today should be very useful for us in the future.”

Mears will now head to Bristol Motor Speedway looking to notch another solid finish.

— How did the other Underdogs fare in Michigan? —

AJ Allmendinger – 13th
Aric Almirola – 20th
David Gilliland – 21st
David Ragan – 24th
Cole Whitt – 25th
Alex Bowman – 26th
Reed Sorenson – 27th
Josh Wise – 28th
Landon Cassill – 29th
JJ Yeley – 30th
Travis Kvapil – 32nd
Dave Blaney – 33rd
Alex Kennedy – 34th
Joe Nemechek – 35th
Michael Annett – 40th
Justin Allgaier – 42nd

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About Toby Christie

Toby Christie is the Senior Writer for Rubbings Racing. He has been watching NASCAR since 1993, and has covered the sport as a media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the NMPA. Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, subpar guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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