Casey Mears

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Casey Mears
Casey Mears in 2010.jpg
Mears in 2010
Born (1978-03-12) March 12, 1978 (age 36)
Bakersfield, California, U.S.
Achievements 2007 Coca-Cola 600 Winner
2006 24 Hours of Daytona overall co-winner
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
407 race(s) run over 12 year(s)
Car no., team No. 13 (Germain Racing)
2013 position 24th
Best champ.
finish
14th (2006)
First race 2003 Daytona 500 (Daytona)
Last race 2014 MyAFibStory.com 400 (Joliet)
First win 2007 Coca-Cola 600 (Charlotte)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 49 3
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
93 race(s) run over 9 year(s)
Best champ.
finish
20th (2007)
First race 2001 GNC Live Well 300 (Homestead)
Last race 2010 Bashas' Supermarkets 200 (Phoenix)
First win 2006 USG Durock 300 (Chicago)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 32 4
IndyCar Series career
3 race(s) run over 1 year(s)
Best champ.
finish
31st (2001)
First race 2001 Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 (Phoenix)
Last race 2001 Atlanta 500 Classic (Atlanta)
Wins Podiums Poles
0 0 0
Champ Car career
5 race(s) run over 2 year(s)
Best champ.
finish
23rd (2000)
First race 2000 Marlboro 500 (California)
Last race 2001 Marlboro 500 (California)
Wins Podiums Poles
0 0 0
Statistics current as of September 14, 2014.

Casey James Mears (born March 12, 1978) is an American stock car and open-wheel racing driver. A competitor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he currently drives the No. 13 Chevrolet SS for Germain Racing. A former winner of the Coca-Cola 600, Mears is the nephew of four time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and the son of IndyCar and off-road veteran Roger Mears.[1]

Open wheel racing[edit]

After racing in go-karts for a season in 1991, Mears began competing in the SuperLites Off-Road Series in 1992 where he posted several top-three finishes. He moved to sprint cars in 1994 and finished third in the Jim Russell USAC Triple Crown Championship, with a win at Mesa Marin Raceway. The next season, he won the championship in the USAC series.

In 1996, Mears made his Dayton Indy Lights debut at the Cleveland Grand Prix and finished eighth. The following year, he competed full-time in the Indy Lights championship and in 1999 finished second, losing by 14 points. He was also just the fourth driver in Indy Lights series history to complete every lap in a single season. Mears continued to compete in the Indy Lights in 2000 and won his first race at the Grand Prix of Houston meeting in October.

After testing Indy Cars for multiple teams in 2000, Mears was offered a chance to drive a third entry for Team Rahal at California Speedway in October. After qualifying 15th and leading 10 laps, he posted a career-best fourth finish in his CART Series debut. He ran three IRL events at the start of the 2001 season, and attempted to qualify for the 2001 Indianapolis 500, but ultimately did not make it. He ended the season by filling in for injured Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi, posting one top-10 finish in four starts.

Mears had five CART starts, with one top-5 finish, and three IRL starts, with no top-5 finishes.

NASCAR[edit]

Mears made his NASCAR debut in the Busch Series in 2001 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, driving the 66 car for Cicci-Welliver Racing. He started 21st and finished 28th. When the team was sold to Wayne Jesel the next season, Mears drove for them full-time, finishing 21st in points with two top-ten finishes. To the surprise of many, he was selected by Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the #41 Target Dodge in 2003. In his rookie season, he finished 35th after failing to finish in the top-ten in any race. Throughout 2003, Casey drove a number of ARCA races for Chip, winning three times, once at Michigan, and sweeping both Pocono races. He drove the #41 Sprint Cup car for two additional seasons, and won two poles in 2004.

During the 2005 season, it was announced Mears would move to a separate car for Chip Ganassi with Home123 sponsorship, with the #41 to be piloted by Reed Sorenson. The Home123 sponsorship fell through and he instead moved to the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for Ganassi, replacing the departing Jamie McMurray.

Mears started off 2006 with a then-best career finish of second, holding off Ryan Newman as Mears' future teammate Jimmie Johnson won the 2006 Daytona 500.

Mears' 2007 Cup car
Mears' 2008 Cup car

On June 6, 2006, Mears announced that he was leaving Chip Ganassi Racing at the end of the season to join Hendrick Motorsports for the 2007 season, to replace the departing Brian Vickers. On July 8, he finally won his first NASCAR race, a Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, coasting to the finish after running out of fuel.

For the 2007 season, Mears assumed driving duties for the #25 Hendrick Chevrolet, with co-primary sponsorship from the National Guard of the United States and GMAC. On May 27, he won the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte for his first career Nextel Cup victory. Once again, Mears secured the win with a fuel gamble, taking the lead with five laps remaining when most of the other lead lap cars stopped for fuel. Mears stretched his fuel to the finish, running out moments after his first checkered flag.

In 2008 Mears moved to the Alan Gustafson-led No. 5 Kellogg's/Carquest Chevrolet Impala formerly driven by Kyle Busch. After going winless, Mears was released by Hendrick and replaced by veteran Mark Martin.

On August 23, 2008, Mears was announced as the driver of Richard Childress Racing's No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet Impala SS. The previous driver of the car, Clint Bowyer, would drive the team's new No. 33 General Mills Chevrolet Impala SS. In his first season at RCR, Mears notched 2 top ten finishes. After Mears struggled during the first seven races of the year, Richard Childress switched the crew chiefs for Harvick and Mears' cars, hoping for a better performance from the two drivers. The switch seemed to work for both parties.

On October 21, 2009, it was announced Mears would be getting his 3rd crew chief of the season starting at Talladega. Todd Berrier would be moving to the #31 team in place of Scott Miller. Doug Randolph took over as the crew chief on the #07. This move was made primarily because the future of the 07 was uncertain and Childress wanted to keep Berrier in the family. After the switch, Mears struggled with his new crew chief and had a best finish of 19th at Homestead. Mears was released by Richard Childress Racing following the 2009 season.

It was announced on January 20, 2010 that that Mears would drive the #90 Key Motorsports Chevrolet. Mears failed to qualify for the 2010 Daytona 500, ending a starting streak of 252 consecutive races; this was Mears' first DNQ of his career. Mears also failed to qualify for Fontana, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. After qualifying for Martinsville was rained out and the team did not qualify, Mears was released by the team. Following his release from Key Motorsports, Joe Gibbs announced that Mears would be on standby status while JGR driver, Denny Hamlin, recovered from ACL surgery; however, Hamlin did not require a replacement and therefore Mears did not drive in either of the two races. Beginning on April 27, 2010, Mears briefly became the driver for Tommy Baldwin's #36 team. On May 13, Mears was announced as the temporary replacement driver for the #83 Red Bull Racing Team at Dover, replacing a sick Brian Vickers.

During the June race at Michigan International Speedway, while racing near the back of the field, Mears wrecked his Red Bull Racing teammate, Scott Speed. Speed went on to finish 28th and Mears finished 36th. Following the race, Speed was critical of the incident, and Mears was soon replaced by Reed Sorenson. Mears returned to TBR beginning with the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27, 2010, where he finished 29th, only 2 laps down.

Mears' 2013 Cup car

Mears stepped into his fourth car of the season at Atlanta in September, driving the #13 GEICO Toyota for Germain Racing. It was also announced in August 2010 that Mears would continue to drive this car for the remainder of the 2010 season and all of the 2011 season. Mears attempted to qualify for his initial Sprint Cup appearance with the team at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the September 5 Emory Healthcare 500.

The 2011 season started off with his 2nd DNQ at the Daytona 500. Due to 2 engines failing him during Speedweeks, Mears was unable to secure a position on the starting grid. Germain Racing secured sponsorship from GEICO and Hard Rock Vodka for a combined 29 races. Mears finished 31st in driver points.

GEICO announced on January 6, 2012 that they signed a two-year deal with Mears and Germain. Germain also announced that the team was switching to Ford from Toyota for the 2012 season, gaining technical support from Roush Fenway Racing and engines from Roush-Yates. On August 24, Mears won the pole for the Irwin Tools Night Race due to the Friday qualifying session being rained out. Mears finished 30th in the final point standings.

On February 21, 2013, GEICO announced that they are sponsoring Mears and Germain full-time for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Valvoline Next-Gen also sponsored Mears for a two races. In the 2013 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Mears recorded the team's best finish at an oval track, 9th. Mears finished 24th in points, his best since driving for RCR in 2009.

For 2014, Germain Racing partnered with Richard Childress Racing to field Chevrolets. Mears began the season on a high note with a tenth place finish at the Daytona 500.

At Richmond, Mears ran in the top ten for part of the race, but got into a fist-fight with Marcos Ambrose who was furious over a late racing incident.[2] Two days later, Mears was fined $15,000 and put on probation for one month.[3]

During the first half of the 2014 season, Mears recorded eight top-20 finishes, including a top-10 and a top-5. He sat 23rd in points at the halfway mark.

Grand-Am[edit]

In 2005, Mears teamed with Scott Dixon and Darren Manning in the Chip Ganassi Lexus Riley. They finished in 6th place. The following season he teamed up with Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon on January 29, 2006 to win the 44th annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. They set a race record for the Daytona Prototype category, running 723 laps in 24 hours to score the win.

Mears became the first ever full-time NASCAR driver to win the Rolex 24 overall.

In 2009 Mears shared the #2 Gentleman Jack Pontiac-Crawford with Andy Wallace, Rob Finley and Danica Patrick. They suffered electrical and handling issues during the race and finished eighth.

Motorsports career results[edit]

American open-wheel racing[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Indy Lights[edit]

CART[edit]

Indy Racing League[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Nationwide Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

24 Hours of Daytona[edit]

(key)

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Hembree, Mike (April 27, 2014). "Marcos Ambrose punches Casey Mears after Richmond race". USA Today. McLean,VA. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  3. ^ Gluck, Jeff (April 29, 2014). "NASCAR fines Ambrose, Mears for Richmond altercation". USA Today. McLean, VA. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 

External links[edit]