While everyone focused on the battle for the win at Martinsville, there was a team that quietly finished 16th and continued their steady climb up the standings. They are Germain Racing with driver, Casey Mears who scored his 4th top 16 finish of the year at the historic short track. Casey moved up four positions in the standings to 17th and is now ahead of superstars such as Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Jeff Burton. Mears and the #13 team had just two top 15 finishes in all of 2010, 2011 and 2012 combined; they already have three so far this year.
In the Daytona 500, Mears was taken out in an early crash that also destroyed the chances of race favorites Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. The unfortunate accident relegated him to a 29th place finish, 19 laps down. They followed their disappointing start to the year up with an impressive 14th place run at Phoenix after starting dead last. Since Las Vegas, Mears has rattled off results of 15th, 15th and 16th steadily working his way through the standings.
Some say that the Gen-6 car is the main reason why this single car operation is running so well but I think it’s more than that. I believe that after three years of fighting to stay alive, even humbling themselves to the point of start and parking that this team has finally made a breakthrough. We saw the same thing happen with Furnitow Row Racing who was running around 20th most weeks and are now battling inside the top 10 on a regular basis. Of course, another obvious example would be Michael Waltrip Racing that was DNQing all three cars not so many years ago. Germain Racing hasn’t quite gotten to that point yet but if they continue to work as hard as they have been, they will one day be a top 10 team.
Going into this year, GEICO announced that they would sponsor the #13 for every race on the schedule through 2014 which is a huge accomplishment for any team let alone a small outfit like Germain. There are some big name drivers that don’t even have all 36 races sold yet. Mears was quoted saying earlier in 2013, “I can’t thank GEICO and Bob Germain enough for the support and commitment they have given our program. Our program shows that you don’t have to be the biggest team; you just have to work harder than everyone else. Our team has strength of character and remains focused on the process, which are two of the biggest reasons for our success.”
Casey and crew chief Bootie Barker have a great relationship and are communicating better than ever before which is big key to running well in NASCAR. Germain added employees during the off season while most teams downsized. They were actually one of the first organizations to produce a fully built, fully painted ready to race Gen-6 last winter. Their hard work and perseverance is paying major dividends now as they head to Texas hoping to ride this wave of momentum to another great finish further solidifying their position in the points. Creating a competitive NASCAR team is a puzzle and the #13 guys are slowly but surely putting all the right pieces in the right places. With a talented driver paired with a veteran crew chief, 30 dedicated employees who pour their heart and soul into what they do and a fully sponsored Ford Fusion powered by Roush-Yates engines, the sky is the limit for this little team that could as they look to turn some heads in 2013!