Mears posts best qualifying effort in 41 races
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Casey Mears in February 2014. Mears will start Sunday's race at Sonoma Raceway eighth.
Casey Mears’ eighth place qualifying effort for Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway will be the driver’s best starting position for a Sprint Cup race since a top-five qualifying effort at Talladega in April 2014.
The starting spot is also the best Mears has qualified at Sonoma,beating a previous best of 12th place in last year’s event.
Germain Racing and Mears have been showing
speed across the race weekend. 21st in first practice Friday, Mears
was 11th fastest overall in Happy Hour.
Mears posted the seventh fastest time in the first round of qualifying on Saturday, approximately two-tenths faster than 13th overall Jimmie Johnson and a pickup of 2.1 seconds from first practice. The time advanced Mears to the second and final round of qualifying.
Mears commented on his qualifying effort Saturday.
Photo by NASCAR via Getty Images
Casey Mears' 2015 primary paint scheme.
“It was good, the guys did a really good job preparing the car and making sure we could get everything out of it,” he said. “They improved on it from yesterday. A lot of the stuff they did to prepare for qualifying and it was good. We went out there the very first time out and the tires didn’t seem like they wanted to come in very well when they were new.”
Mears talked about the track being slick, giving insight on what could have caused the track to have said conditions.
“I think whatever series was on the track before us it just had a little rubber that didn’t agree with the rubber on the track. It was a little bit slick first getting going. But then after that the car had some speed. That last run we were just a little too loose and I got a little bit a wheel hop into [turn] 11 and I think that would have put us pretty close to it if we could have pulled that off. I’m looking forward to Sunday.”
In 11 starts at Sonoma Raceway, Mears has posted two top-ten finishes, with a best finish of fifth place in 2008. And in four starts with Germain Raceway at the speedway, Mears has finished inside the top-16 three times, including three consecutive lead lap finishes.