Casey Mears out of No. 83 at Red Bull Racing
Casey Mears learned his fate Tuesday night.
Although Mears was not expected to race in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway, he learned his services would not be needed in the near future. However, Red Bull general manager Jay Frye did not rule out Mears returning to the organization at some point down the road.
“I honestly don’t know what to say,” Mears said by phone Wednesday morning. “I didn’t get a lot of answers. Obviously, we weren’t running well, which was problematic. They have a lot of great people over there, but we just couldn’t put it on the track.”
The change was initially reported on Sirius Satellite Radio Tuesday.
Mears, 32, was drafted to substitute for Brian Vickers, who has been sidelined with a medical condition since blood clots were discovered in his legs and lungs prior to the May 16 race at Dover International Speedway. Mears finished 22nd at Dover and 29th two weeks later in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Entering Pocono Raceway the following week, Scott Speed was 27th in owners points while the No. 83 Toyota was sitting 23rd in the standings. Frye decided to swap crew chiefs on the Nos. 82 and 83 Toyotas to jump start both programs. The decision placed Speed with Ryan Pemberton, who qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup the previous season, and reunited Mears with Jimmy Elledge. Mears and Elledge had a solid partnership at Ganassi Racing before the driver moved to Hendrick Motorsports.
Although results were not immediate following the crew shift at Pocono, Mears felt the team made progress acclimating to the new cars. Mears felt he was just getting into his groove at Michigan when he and Speed collided in Turn 1 on Lap 100. Entering the pits for repairs, Mears made contact with David Ragan and furthered injured the car.
“Michigan was really our first legitimate chance to run
together,” Mears said of the opportunity to work with
Elledge. “Right about the time we got into Scott is about the
time things started going right. I think we were going in the right
direction but we never got the chance to see it to
Mears is keeping his options open. He’s spoken with Tommy Baldwin about a possible return to TBR, where he qualified the No. 36 Chevrolet 13th at Richmond International Raceway earlier this season and ran in the top 25 all day.
“It’s a long year,“ Mears said. “Jay said before the season’s out there might be an opportunity to do something again. My best run was with Tommy earlier this year. He’s running ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing) engines — so there’s good power. I want to do whatever I can.”