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Mears back in California for first 2017 XFINITY race

After announcing in February that he would run 12 NASCAR Xfinity Series races in the #98 GEICO Military Ford Mustang for Biagi-DenBeste Racing, the time has come for Casey Mears to hit the track. His first race of the 2017 season is this weekend in Fontana, CA, and the Bakersfield native will make his first laps in his new ride when the first practice session gets underway at 3:30 PM (ET) on Friday.

Mears, a 14-year NASCAR veteran, last competed in the Xfinity Series in 2010. He has one win, 16 top-5 and 32 top-10 finishes in just 93 starts in the series. The GEICO driver also captured four pole awards, while leading 361-laps.

This weekend, Mears takes aim at the 2-mile southern California oval, piloting an entry fielded by the team that first delivered a GEICO car to Victory Lane when, on July 2, 2004, the Biagi-DenBeste group departed Daytona International Speedway with trophy in-hand. The pair looks to continue their success as they again partner, this time with Mears as the wheelman of the #98 GEICO Military Ford, which will pay tribute to our nation's military and its service members and families.

"I'm excited to get on-track this weekend and see what the GEICO Military Ford can do. It will be fun getting behind the wheel and driving a racecar that honors our military for all they do for our country," Mears said. "These guys on the Biagi-DenBeste team work really hard and are a great group, so I feel like we'll be successful this year. It's nice that I get to run the first race here in California, where a lot of my family resides. We'll have a big group of people at the track this weekend, so it'll be special and I'll do all I can to get the GEICO Military car up front." He continued, "I want to thank both Biagi-DenBeste Racing and GEICO for this opportunity. I am proud to be associated with a sponsor and team that support our military service members and their families. It says a lot about the character of both organizations."

-- Player Management International --