Race Weekend Central

Casey Mears Driver Diary: Points Improvement, an Intriguing Offer & Golf

Daytona was a tough way to start the season. We blew a motor in practice and then another one in our qualifying race. We lease our engines from Michael Waltrip Racing. They never really told us exactly what broke, but to me, it doesn’t really matter; it was a failure. It was really disappointing to miss the race because we had a really good car. The guys worked really, really hard over the winter to get our cars ready and they did a great.

Phoenix was a good weekend for us, actually. We got caught in a crash and to be able to rebound and come out of the crash like that with a car that was pretty torn up, to be able to rebound and get it working well and to finish 18th was a great day for us. I think it was some of the medicine the team needed for after that rough weekend in Daytona. It definitely felt good to come out of there inside the points, being Top 35 after missing the race at Daytona.

When there’s a crash in front of you, the first thing you think of is stop! You have to think how to avoid it, like do I go high, do I go low, slow down, get down on the apron. The deal at Phoenix was hard because the whole track was blocked. It used to be if that happened, I could go for the grass, but with the new car you really can’t do that any more because of the splitter. If that gets broke it really hurts the car aerodynamically. In a crash, there’s really not a lot of intelligent thought in your head other than how do I avoid this?

At Vegas, we wanted to be better, but we really struggled getting the car to turn the whole time we were there. We put in a solid day on Sunday, ran hard all day and hung in there, but never really had what we needed to be truly competitive. Although it was a solid day for us and we improved a little bit in the points, it was still frustrating from the crew chief and driver end of things trying to get the car to respond like we wanted it to.

I hadn’t thought about the IndyCar offer (Note: the IndyCar series is offering a $5 million bonus to any non-IndyCar regular who can win the series’ season finale at Las Vegas in October.) until my Grandpa brought it up, and you know, if I had a really good opportunity, whether it be Penske or Ganassi, I would definitely be very interested in entertaining that.

I’m so focused now on trying to get the GEICO Toyota running well that I haven’t really thought much outside of that. I’ve heard little things about those opportunities. I know they’re definitely trying to draw a crowd with a big prize, which is great. If I had a shot with a great team, I’d do it.

We’re still looking for sponsorship. If we had a sponsor, everybody would know it! We’re just looking. Hopefully as we continue to go and show improvement, we’ll be able to land somebody soon so we can go racing the whole year.

Right now I’m spending some time with my wife and our little girl out in Phoenix. We have a condo out here that we don’t get to use very often, so we thought we’d come out here and spend a little time. Actually right now, my wife has some of our good friends on the golf course and it gave us an opportunity to come out and play some golf which I haven’t gotten to do in a while I’m enjoying that!

About the author

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Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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