Casey Mears will again pilot the No. 13 Geico Ford for Germain in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season. (Getty Images)
Germain Racing came into the 2012 season with a streamlined approach as well as a new manufacturer in hopes of elevating its performance.
Team owner Bob Germain made the decision to shutter his Camping World Truck Series team to focus solely on a Sprint Cup effort. A switch from Toyota to the Ford camp was also made as means of both improving the on-track effort in addition to reconnecting with some family roots.
"The Germains have a long history with Ford Motor Company," the team owner said. "My grandfather worked with Henry Ford as an accountant, and my father worked as a guide in the Henry Ford Museum. Our family currently owns and operates both Ford and Lincoln dealerships, and we have many friends at Ford Motor Company. I'm excited to join the Ford Racing team."
Casey Mears returned for another season behind the wheel with veteran crew chief Bootie Barker back to serve as crew chief.
"Germain is fairly new to the Cup series, and it's been fun to take the program in the right direction," Mears said before the season kicked off. "We're reaping some of the benefits of all the hard work we put in last year. It's a better situation with Geico stepping up, and we're one of the few teams in Cup that has increased sponsorship. It's shaping up to be a good year.
"In my heart, I'm a racer and my goal is to win races. But if we can be in the top 25 in points with some top 10s and top fives and run at the front sometimes, we'll have improved a substantial amount. If you look at last season, there are a lot of good teams who didn't finish in the top 20. It would be a huge accomplishment for us to get to the top 20."
Unfortunately for Mears, the team wasn't able to achieve that goal and finished 29th in the standings. He was unable to bring home a top-10 finish, with a 16th-place effort at Watkins Glen the best of the campaign.
2013 Team Preview
The team enters the new year virtually unchanged. The organization received a vote of confidence from sponsor Geico, which will return to the No. 13 entry for the next two seasons.
Mears and Barker believe another season together will provide the necessary foundation to build on for an improved 2012.
"I look to win races," Mears said of his commitment to the team. "When I look at the reality of that, with where we're at right now, we're still a little ways from that. It's not to say that we can't do it, but there's just so many details at the end of the day that you really have to cover to actually win one of these races. ...
"What I've really enjoyed is -- I think this is my 10th year at this level, and having the experience I've had over the years, it's been fun to be part of a program where they lean and rely on me a lot to get to where we're going. I'm a huge part in everything that we do -- in the meetings, where we decide to go.”
Despite Germain's alignment with Ford and the Roush stable, it's still a tough road for the single-car organization. Realistic goals for 2013 are the same as last season. A finish inside the first 20 of the point standings should be considered a huge success.
2013 Predicted Team Power Rankings
* Rankings reflect the expected 16 full-time teams in 2013.