Veterans Day always provides for a moving weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, where teams and the sport alike celebrate our nation’s heroes. Driver Casey Mears has carried a season-long salute, piloting the No. 98 GEICO Military paint scheme in each of his Xfinity Series races this season. The Bakersfield, CA, native was focused on delivering a solid result from the time the Biagi-DenBeste Racing team unloaded his Ford Mustang for the weekend’s opening practice session.
Mears posted the 19th and 13th fastest times in the respective practice sessions, indicating the team had speed heading into Saturday’s qualifying session and subsequent race. Mears advanced to the second round of qualifying after pedaling the GEICO Military Ford around the one-mile oval in just 27.388-seconds, at a speed of 131.444-miles per hour. His effort was good enough to land him 18th on the Ticket Galaxy 200 starting grid.
When the green flag signaled the start of 200-miles of racing, Mears had little time t o settle in before he was forced to narrowly avoid a spinning car just in front of him in the opening laps. He had moved up two positions and restarted the race from 16th. Mears battled a handling condition early, but continued to pick up spots, moving the No. 98 GEICO Military Ford into the 12thposition by lap 23. Just after the halfway point of the race, he entered the top-10, where he ran solidly for much of the back half of the event before breaking into the top-5 as the race neared its end.
Five caution flags would slow the field over the course of the afternoon and the Biagi-DenBeste pit crew used each one to make helpful adjustments to the GEICO Military Ford. As tire strategies varied during the closing laps, Mears took off from the fifth position when the race restarted for the final time with just 13 laps to go. He would be forced to give way to cars with fresher tires, but would still hold on to sail the No. 98 GEICO Military Ford across the finish line in the 12th position, capping off a successful weekend for Biagi-DenBeste Racing.
“We were able to have a little fun today and it was nice to get a good finish on Veterans Day, which means a lot to us because we get to celebrate our veterans and also because we get to carry the GEICO Military paint scheme all year,” Mears said. “The Biagi-DenBeste crew made good adjustments during the race and it helped me stay at the front of the field all day. The car felt good and we were able to deliver a solid result. We’re looking forward to getting down to Homestead and having another strong run for GEICO to close out the season.”
Biagi-DenBeste Racing will now load up Mears’ Ford Mustang for the final time this season and head south to Homestead, FL.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Military Ford Mustang will hit the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the weekend’s opening practice session on Friday, November 17th, at 2:30 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Saturday at 11:15 AM (ET).
The Ford EcoBoost 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race is on Saturday, November 18th, and it will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 3:30 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
PMI PR/Photo Getty Images for NASCAR
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