Red Bull's NASCAR team replaces Casey Mears with Reed Sorenson
The Red Bull NASCAR team said Wednesday that it will replace Casey Mears with Reed Sorenson as driver of its No. 83 Toyota starting with the June 27 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Mears, a member of the famed Mears racing family of Bakersfield, drove in four Sprint Cup Series races for Red Bull after he was tapped to fill in for Brian Vickers, who was sidelined for the season after he was diagnosed with blood clots.
But Mears' best finish in those four races was a 22nd at Dover, Del., and he probably didn't help his cause Sunday when he made contact with Red Bull teammate Scott Speed at Michigan International Speedway, sending Speed into a spin.
Sorenson won't take over Vickers' car this Sunday because the series is racing at the twisty Infineon Raceway road course in Sonoma, Calif., and Red Bull plans to have Mattias Ekstrom, a two-time champion in the European DTM sports-car series, drive the No. 83 at Infineon.
Mears, 32, found himself without a full-season ride this year after driving for Richard Childress Racing in 2009. He previously had spent two years with Hendrick Motorsports before being released after the 2008 season, and four years with Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team before moving to Hendrick.
During that span, Mears won one Cup race, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in 2007.
Sorenson, 24, also formerly drove for Ganassi but likewise hadn't had a full-time ride in the Cup series this season, and he has never won a Cup race. He had been driving in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series this year.
"Our unique situation [with Vickers] has afforded us the opportunity to try some different things, and we're continuing to do that with Reed," Jay Frye, Red Bull's general manager, said in a statement.
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: Casey Mears pits the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race June 13 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Credit: Jason Smith / Getty Images.