For at least 37 weekends out of the year, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are at a racetrack making a living by turning left – and occasionally right – all while trying to beat their fellow competitors.
But during the roughly three-month period that makes up NASCAR’s short offseason, it’s time to relax with family, have fun with their kids and, yes, even travel a bit.
Such is the case for Casey Mears, driver of the No. 13GEIC0 Chevrolet for Germain Racing.
A husband to Trisha and father to two children under the age of 7, Mears has learned to savor the rare downtime that late November, much of December and January afford.
“In my younger years in the sport, I always felt guilty when I got this time off,” said Mears, 36. “I just felt like I needed to be racing or doing something. I still get the itch fairly soon. We get two or three weeks off and I’m ready to get back in the race car again, but I’ve also learned over the years that you need to value this time and take it while you can and get a good opportunity to kind of recharge the batteries.”
In the time between the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Mears planned to take his family to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, and also get away for a few days with Trisha to celebrate their anniversary.
The Mears family spent much of the previous offseason vacationing in the Phoenix area where they rented a home.
“We don’t go crazy,” Mears said. “We don’t just take off and travel a bunch again. We plan two or three trips and space them out to where we can really enjoy time at home, as well. One of the last things you want to do after the season is over is hop on another airplane, but it is nice to be able to get away and go to some places that you wouldn’t typically get to go to. I think over the years I’ve learned how to balance that out a little better.”
NO PLAC€ LIKE HOME
For Casey Mears, one of the biggest perks of the offseason is spending numerous weekends at home in Charlotte, N.C.
It’s a dramatic change from the season – when the family lives out of a motorhome parked in the infield of a race track. In the winter months, the Mears bunch tries to spend part of their weekends attending fun events in the local community.
“It’s really nice,” Mears said. “You don’t think about it a whole lot during the year when you’re so tied up with what you’re doing, but once things settle down and you actually do get a weekend at home, it’s a lot of fun. There are things to do on the weekends that you can’t do during the week. There are special events, concerts, just things that typically happen on weekends that we usually don’t get to take advantage of.”
Sponsor commitments are at a minimum in the month of December, in particular, but Mears enjoys those.
“We went to the GEICO office in the Virginia Beach area and participated in their annual Thanksgiving Celebration and it was great to catch up with associates before the holidays,” he said of this past offseason.