At Talladega, we didn’t quite have the speed that we wanted, but when we worked together with guys, we got going pretty fast. We worked with Landon most of the day and we worked really well together. We ran in the top 10 the majority of the time. He got taken out right behind me, got involved in a crash. So then, for the fourth quarter of the race we teamed up with the No. 78 and Regan Smith and we really started taking off and running real well.
Then, unfortunately he was the last caution. I think we were running fourth of fifth and he got taken out with a few to go. That left us pretty much without a partner. I was on the radio with several different people trying to sort through it, but at the end, we just didn’t end up having a partner, so we were on our own there. I just hung in for 17th. But we had a strong day all day.
Martinsville was great. It was an exciting race. It really wasn’t a scheduled race for us, and Bob Germain decided that he wanted to go ahead and run that race. We were pretty adamant that if we went back to Matrinsville, because of the way we ran the first time we went there, that we’d actually have a good day if we stayed out of trouble. It was great. Fortunately, he decided to pick that race up, and we had a strong day. It was the strongest, most competitive day we had all year. Martinsville was awesome. It was the most competitive weekend we’ve had altogether. We were definitely in the mix with a good shot at a great finish and we ended up bring it home okay.
Texas was the best mile-and-a-half race we’ve had all year. We brought a new car that we built-new chassis, new body. We didn’t end up qualifying real well, but in the race, the car was really fast. We had a great racecar. Unfortunately, on a key pit stop under the green flag, we had an issue and that gout us a lap down. But the guys did a great job with that car, and the fact that we had the speed to run inside the top 12, it was a dramatic improvement for us on the 1.5 mile tracks. We ended up finishing 25th, but at the end of the day we were really proud of the speed we had and the progress that we made.
Again, we really had a good car at Phoenix. I think we were looking at a top 20 finish there. We stayed right on the lead lap the majority of the day and before we had a fuel issue, we were the lucky dog. We had a very, very competitive car all day. It seems like in the last four weeks, our performance has really elevated. Bootie and I are really understanding exactly what we need working together. It’s been a fun run the last four weeks. It feels like we’ve cut up the racetrack racing. You know, any time you do that and you get more competitive, it exposes other weaknesses. We’ve made a lot of gains in a lot of right areas, but it’s also exposed some areas where we need more work, and it’s given us valuable information to build on for next season.
I think it’s great to be able to finish off the year like this. Of course, we sill have Homestead, but whatever happens at Homestead, the things that we’ve accomplished in the last four or five weeks have really gotten a lot of people at Germain Racing excited. With what Bob has planned for next season, with kind of a renewed focus on the No. 13, it’s good to finish off the season with momentum and good information, and it will hopefully roll over into good results for 2012.
Things are looking good. We’re slowly but surely putting the season together with sponsorship. It’s by no means complete, but it looks as optimistic as it has for a long time. We’re fortunate to have Geico coming back with us next year, and I’m excited about the interest we’ve had from some other sponsors as well. Hopefully we can keep our heads down and put it all together and have a full season next year.
I just got on Twitter. I’ve always avoided that kind of thing. I didn’t really see the purpose of exposing more of your life to people you don’t know, but really, obviously it is a great tool. It’s a good way for fans to keep up whit what you do off the racetrack. It’s only as intrusive as you want it to be. It honesty has been kind of exciting and fun to see the fans react to me being on there now. I’ve had a good time interacting with people a little bit through the few messages that I’ve sent out. It is a good deal; it’s kind of neat to see the response. Obviously, it also creates some value to your sponsors as well. It was fun; we were on the plane-I was going to fly back with Jimmie and Jeff on Jimmie’s plane, or the plane that Jimmie borrowed since he had the issue with his plane.
Then we had a small issue with that plane, so we ended up flying back with Tony Stewart. Jimmie and I were riding next to each other, and Tony had Internet on his plane. So it was great. Jimmie convinced me and talked me into joining the world of Twitter. So I thought, ‘Well, that’s good; I’ll open up an account and maybe sent out a couple tweets and see what it’s like.’ Well, before I knew it, Jimmie had already made an announcement to all the people who follow him to follow me, so I had like 5000 people overnight. So I all of a sudden feel a little more obligated to give it a little bit more serious thought, but it’s been fun. (Note: fans can follow Casey on Twitter at @CJMearsGang)
Trish and I definitely plan to get away for a little bit in the offseason, just have a husband and wife vacation. She’s been doing a great job raising our two kids. It’s been a hectic year, week in and week out, going to all the races, so we’re going to take a little time and get away. Then later in the season, in December, we’re going to just spend a lot of time with our families and go out West, maybe to Phoenix for a few weeks and spend some down time there. Other than that, everything in between is going to be getting ready for next season and making sure that we’re better prepared than we ever have been to start 2012.