Race Weekend Central

Casey Mears Driver Diary: We’ve Got Potential

I’ve been in the sport for a long time. I grew up in a racing family, I’ve been in NASCAR now for roughly 10 years and been fortunate to be a part of a lot of good teams. Last year was a struggle trying to put it all together. Fortunately, I landed with a good team in Germain Racing. I’m really looking forward to 2011. I think it’s going to be great.

We’ve got a really good team. For being a small team, we’ve got a lot of big team resources, working with Michael Waltrip Racing as far as their simulation programs, parts, pieces and cars – all of that. So, even though we’re a smaller group, we have a rather large source for information – small team, but we have a lot to offer.

It was great knowing what was going on for this year in the offseason. It sure made the offseason a lot better for me as far as just being able to relax and recharge the batteries, then being able to work with the guys to focus on getting things prepared to be where we need to be for this year. Last year was just so unpredictable. With Jack Daniel’s pulling out so late at RCR, we just didn’t have time to put together another program. But I was really fortunate to land where I am now and I think we’ve got a lot of potential.

We have 18 races sponsored by GEICO and the rest we’re still looking. We have some leads and things that might turn around for us. We’re going to chip away at it, and if we can’t find a sizable sponsor that can come on for half a season, maybe we can do it a race at a time and piece our way through a year. We definitely have what it takes to run well and be well up inside the points. We’ve had good speed every weekend, every place that we’ve been to. If we didn’t qualify well, we raced well.

I look forward to being in position to get those races nailed down, get inside the points and really show what we’re capable of doing.

We really took it easy in December. We had some of Trish’s family come out for Christmas. We actually had Christmas at our house, which was great. Then in early January, Trish and I were able to get away for our anniversary, just the two of us, and go to Mexico for about four or five days and just kind of relax. Ever since then, I’ve been home back in North Carolina. We did some testing in mid-December and then the test in Daytona, but other than that, it’s been a great chance to spend time at home with Trish and Samantha and get refreshed.

We’ve got a new baby on the way – a little boy coming in May. We’re really excited about that. We found out not too long ago that we’re having a little boy and we definitely would have been happy either way as long as the baby is healthy, but having a girl in Samantha already, it was nice to know that we’ve got one of both coming and I’m excited. I can’t wait to have a little boy!

Having a 2-year-old does keep you busy. Samantha is definitely wide-open. She’s got a lot of personality. She’s a lot of fun – she’s getting into everything. You can tell she’s going to be one heck of a little athlete. She just loves throwing and kicking balls and anything when it comes to sports. Her Mom has her already dribbling a basketball – it’s so fun to watch.

We had a commercial shoot this week. It went really well. I wasn’t feeling good, but the production crew that GEICO uses to shoot all our commercials does a great job and I had a good time. They’re funny scripts. I think it’s going to be really good for racing and for GEICO. They’re fun spots, and I’m looking forward to seeing them when they come out. Hopefully they’ll come out sometime in March.

I think our team is still feeling it out a lot in Cup. I feel like we’re definitely a top-20 caliber team, no doubt in my mind. I know that we can be top five, top 10. I think our initial goals are to make all the races, be solid and finish inside the top 20. Hopefully we can clear that fifth race and be well up there in the points, and then we can just keep improving.

Like I said, all the capabilities are there to be top five, to be top 10. Whether or not we can put it all together and make it fit, the year is going to have to start for us to find that out. There were some races last year where we had the capabilities of doing that. It makes everybody at Germain Racing and GEICO and me really optimistic about the year.

About the author

Amy is an 18-year veteran NASCAR writer and a five-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 filling in from time to time on The Frontstretch 5 (Wednesdays) and her monthly commentary Holding A Pretty Wheel (Thursdays). A New Hampshire native living 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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