By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
With Aric Almirola still sidelined from a back injury suffered at Kansas Speedway, Casey Mears will pilot the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford Mustang at Daytona International Speedway. Mears is coming off a 21st place finish at Pocono Raceway three weeks ago.
Mears brings his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series experience to Biagi DenBeste Racing and the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 as he slides into the same Mustang that has won two of the last three restrictor plate races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Almirola. He has competed in 25 races at the 2.5-mile track in NASCAR’s Premier series with another four races in the Xfinity Series. Mears finished in the Top 10 in two of those Xfinity Series races at Daytona.
Mears is excited to be in such a competitive car at Daytona,
“I’m excited to be back behind the wheel with Fresh From Florida and Biagi DenBeste Racing this weekend in Daytona. I know they won this race last year, as well as Talladega in May, with Aric Almirola, so I’m excited to be getting in a competitive car. We’re looking to have a strong run and put the No. 98 Fresh From Florida Ford Mustang at the front of the field. Our thoughts continue to be with Aric as heals up and we’re looking forward to having back in the car.”
Friday night’s race marks Mears’ 99th NASCAR Xfinity Series race. In those 99 races, he has one victory, 16 top fives, 33 Top 10s, and four pole positions.
Mear was fourth fastest in the first practice session, behind just Jeb Burton, Cole Custer, and Spencer Gallagher in the draft. He did not participate in the second practice session.
Now Mears will look to pull off the upset and give Biagi DenBeste Racing their fourth win as an organization and their third at Daytona.