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NASCAR Season Preview: Casey Mears

Photo credit: Jim Greenhill (CC-Gen)

#13 Geico Ford, Germain Racing

Born: March 12, 1978

Home: Bakersfield, California

2011 HIGHLIGHTS: After years of switching rides, Mears finally found some consistency, returning to Germain Racing in 2011 after joining the team two-thirds of the way through the 2010 season. He did a solid job with the semi-funded team, ranking 31st in points.

2011 LOWLIGHTS: Mears failed to qualify for the season’s most important race, the Daytona 500, and failed to score any top 10s. His best finish came at Martinsville in the fall, when he placed 12th.

SEASON OUTLOOK: Mears and company won’t have to worry about failing to qualify at Daytona again, as their 32nd place finish in 2011 owners points will guarantee them a spot in the first five races of the season. The other good news is that sponsor Geico has re-signed with the team on a multi-year contract, ensuring even more stability (and perhaps never having to start and park again, as they did a few times in 2011). That being said, however, this is still a bottom-of-the-barrel team that is still trying to establish itself at the Sprint Cup level after years of success in the Camping World Truck Series.

On the other hand, Germain’s truck operation appears to be all but shuttered for 2012, as a lack of sponsorship for either Todd Bodine or Max Papis has those teams on hold. That may be a blessing for Mears, though, if all of Germain’s top crew members are folded into this team. They still won’t be a Chase-caliber operation, and their points ceiling may be about 25th place for now, but as long as everybody is patient with the manufacturer switch from Toyota to Ford, good things might happen.

– Chris Leone

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