On weekends when MJ2 isn't racing, testing, or practicing, Mears volunteers on other teams racing in the Pacific Northwest. One week he may be changing tires on a Late Model and the next he could be working on a Street Stock. Brenda, his wife, is part of the MJ2 team, often working side-by-side with Gary.

"Every race is an opportunity to learn and develop," he says. "I've never gone to a race that I haven't learned something. Sometimes it is a new way to do something. Other times I learn how not to do something. There are some teams that are so disorganized you wonder how they ever make it to the track."

As Jefferson's crew chief, Mears is known to smile easily, anger slowly, anticipate problems and, once in a while, toss the dice.

Jefferson finished Third at Phoenix because the driver and crew chief decided on an unconventional plan to stretch fuel and take new tires late in the race.

"For a while we had no idea how it was going to work," says Mears. "We knew it was going to be a 'hero or zero' move. I was really relieved when it worked out, because if it didn't, it was going to be tough to explain it to Chuck."
-Jerry F. Boone