Season finish: 26th
2014 Season Stats: 0 Wins, 1 Top-5, 3 Top-10s, 0 Poles.
What went right: The nephew of four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears performed well in restrictor-plate races: 10th at the Daytona 500, 14th at the spring race at Talladega, a season-best finish of fourth in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, and another 10th in the fall at ‘Dega. Mears also largely avoided disaster with just one DNF all year, and that didn’t come until the Chase race at Martinsville.
What went wrong: Mears’ team, Germain Racing, is one of several smaller teams that has an alliance with the bigger Richard Childress Racing. JTG-Daugherty Racing and Furniture Row Racing are also in that group, and while Mears’ 2014 season was comparable with that of Martin Truex Jr. and FRR, A.J. Allmendinger and JTG-D have bragging rights of sorts with their Watkins Glen win and Chase berth.
There was also this bit of unpleasantness with Marcos Ambrose. For his part, Mears gave Ambrose credit for actually tagging him.
2015 Prospectus: If Mears can continue to do well on the plate tracks, he might be next year’s Allmendinger or Aric Almirola by earning a “wild card” win that propels him into the Chase. Beyond that, Mears and the No. 13 team should focus on continuing to maximize their partnership with RCR and gaining “best in class” status over JTG-D and Furniture Row.