Categories
XFINITY

Gase Looking to Turn Heads with MBM Motorsports in 2019

At the beginning of January, MBM Motorsports announced that Iowa native Joey Gase will join their organization’s NASCAR XFINITY Series team full-time and run a partial schedule in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

After running the final Dodge at Homestead-Miami Speedway, MBM Motorsports will now field Gase in the No. 35 Toyota Supra in XFINITY and in the No. 66 Toyota Camry in the Cup Series beginning at Daytona International Speedway.

Gase comes off a full-time campaign with Go Green Racing where he placed 20th in points and had an average finish of 22.2. As the 2018 concluded, Gase knew he was going to face another stressful off-season.

A phone call from team owner Carl Long changed all of that.

“I am very excited and thankful for the opportunity Carl (Long) and MBM Motorsports is giving me this year,” Gase said in a release from the team. “Every off-season is stressful when you don’t know what your plans for the following season will be. This off-season by far has been the most stressful of my career with some unforeseen things happening.”

“One evening I was sitting in my office trying to figure out what my next move should be and then out of the blue Carl gave me a call and we talked for about two hours over the phone and now here we are. MBM Motorsports has grown and improved their program a lot over the last two years, especially the end of last season. I am very excited to be a part of that growth in 2019.”

MBM Motorsports was looking to add a driver with a great deal of seat time in the XFINITY Series, and Gase fit the bill as he will begin his sixth straight full-time season next month at the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona.

“Having an experienced driver in Joey Gase to start our season is a huge blessing,” said team owner Carl Long. “He has worked hard to bring sponsorship to MBM. Today’s driver has to be gifted in handling a car and promotions. Lucky for us Joey is one of the best in all of NASCAR at doing both. Look for us to turn heads this year!”

Gase will bring long-time sponsorship’s to the organization which include Eternal Fan, Donate Life, Medline, Argi Supply, Pro Master, Page Construction, along with other partners that will be announced later.

“I feel very lucky and fortunate to have so many great partners stick with me and it’s exciting to have some new partners joining the party with us this year as well! They are all passionate about raising awareness for organ, eye, and tissue donation, which is something that is very important to me.” said Gase.

This opportunity for Gase not only gives him another full-time ride but a new chapter with a different team in his career. As team owner Car Long said, “Look for us to turn heads this year!” Look for Gase to strive and overachieve MBM Motorsports 2019 goals.

EMAIL BRANDON AT: brandon.rivero@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @MrBrandonRivero

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

ASHLEY ASKS…… Joey Gase

After a rough start to the NASCAR XFINITY Series season, Joey Gase will be looking to turn his luck around at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Prior to the Boyd Gaming 300, the Go Green Racing driver answered some questions for POPULAR SPEED.

POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts going into Las Vegas this weekend?

JOEY GASE: I’m looking forward to it. We have a new team this year and Daytona, everything went great until the first green-white-checkered and we got taken out in the big one. At Atlanta, we struggled a little bit in practice and qualifying. In the race, we actually had a decent run going, drove up to 21st, and unfortunately we had a right rear tire give out on us, and that cost us a lap on pit road. I think this weekend in Vegas we’re hopefully going to unload much better, and have a better weekend.

Like I said, we’re a new team and we’re growing, and we’re learning each other, and we don’t have any notes to fall back on. I think we’re doing well right now at our Go Green Racing team, and I’m also excited about doing double duty this weekend on the (Monster Energy NASCAR) Cup Series side. We’ll be teaming up with Nevada Donor Network on the Cup and XFINITY side.

PS: What are your goals for this year?

JOEY: Our goal for this season is to be as competitive as we can, and then also our hopes are to finish in the top-15 in driver points. We’d be really happy if we could somehow break into the playoffs. We know that’s a lofty goal, but we think it is possible. But our main goal is to get a top-15, and finish as many times as we can in the top-20 every weekend. That’s our goal, and to learn as much as we can, and do as well as we can. We have a good group of guys and a lot of support behind us.  

PS: What are the challenges in being one of the small teams stacking up against the top organizations in the series?

JOEY: There’s probably too many to count, as far as challenges go. I mean, the biggest one is the big teams have so many different resources and simulation. So a lot of them they have the ability to unload a lot better a lot of times than what we can and be close, but they have the full Sim program that unfortunately we don’t have right now. When you have that, you can unload better and it helps you predict what the track is going to do when it gets hotter or colder. Like, qualifying in Atlanta was in the early morning, so it was a lot cooler than when we practiced, so the track had a lot more grip, so they were able to estimate what their travels would be a lot easier. The man power they have is a lot more, too.

This is the most funding that I’ve had going into a season, so we’re a lot better off than what I have been in years past. But like you said, we’re still definitely considered a smaller budget team compared to the big guys. The big guy’s sponsorship budgets are anywhere from $5 to $7 million a year, so they can do a lot with that, as far as keeping on building new cars and having new cars lined up, plus their SIM programs and wind tunnel time.

I think the new composite bodies and hawkeye will help a little bit, but now the bigger teams are starting to focus not as much on the top-side of the car, but now underneath the car making the downforce under there. A lot of people don’t realize that can be done, but that’s where a lot of downforce can be made.  

PS: Beyond Las Vegas this weekend, what track are you looking forward to getting to?

JOEY: I love the superspeedways and the flat short tracks, like Iowa Speedway, Richmond, and Phoenix. I feel like those really suit my driving style and I can do really well at those tracks, and I’ve proven that throughout the past. Those are definitely my favorite tracks to go to, so I’m really looking forward to going to Phoenix in a couple weeks.

PS: Who is your racing hero?

JOEY: When I was growing up, it was definitely my dad that got me into racing. He raced before I did at the local short track level at our home track and I just loved going out to the track and watch him race every weekend. It was my favorite thing to do.

Besides him, at the NASCAR level, it was definitely Rusty Wallace and Ken Schrader. Rusty was just someone that I grew to like, and he was really good at the smaller tracks. Kenny Schrader – I just loved his passion for racing. He would race every night of the week, no matter what type of car it was. He actually came out and raced at my home track quite a bit and he’d always stick around after the race and do autographs, so I thought that was pretty cool.  

PS: Having some fun now, and letting the fans get to know you more. What’s your favorite food?

JOEY: Chicken. I love chicken. It’s healthy for you, and I think it tastes good.

PS: On the flip side, what’s your least favorite food?

JOEY: Probably any kind of vegetable. 

PS: Dream vacation spot?

JOEY: I think it would be really cool to go to Europe or Asia. I’ve never been over there. I’ve been outside of the country just a few times, and that was Jamaica and Mexico, which is beautiful. I would love to head over to Europe sometime. 

PS: What is your favorite TV show?

JOEY: In high school, it was That’s 70 Show. But now, it’s the Big Bang Theory. 

PS: If you were stuck on an island, what are three things you must have?

JOEY: I don’t know for sure; that’s a hard one. I don’t know. I’ll have to do a pass on that one.  

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement

Categories
XFINITY

Gase Ready To Go Green in 2018

Joey Gase is set for the full NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule in 2018 as he will drive the No. 35 Sparks Energy entry for Go Green Racing.

“It’s been such a pleasure being part of Joey’s career,” Archie St. Hilaire said. “My family has been very lucky to be part of many firsts for Joey’s career and we look forward to creating great memories together again this year. With Sparks Energy, Donate Life, and many of our other great partners on-board, we hope to make the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs and compete with some of the big teams. We see a lot of potential in Joey, and hopefully we can move him up to Go FAS Racing in 2019 with a two-car Cup operation.”

Since making their debut in 2009, the Archie St. Hilaire-led organization has been involved in the NASCAR XFINITY Series since, with Gase making his series first start with the team in 2011 at Iowa Speedway. Gase has continued racing in XFINITY ever since, making his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in 2014 with Go Fas Racing. 

The team announced that Patrick Donahue will call the shots after working with Gase last season, and Gase will have primary sponsorship from Sparks Energy Incorporated.

“Sparks Energy is a great family owned and operated company,” said Gase. “The owners, J and Magen, pour their hearts into the company and treat everyone like family. They’re truly living the American dream. I love their hardworking style and great ethics. It’s crazy to think that my partnership with Sparks all began with a Twitter message. I got an email back from the president of the company and the rest is history. I can’t wait to get to Daytona and run with this great team. I can’t thank Archie and everyone at Go Green Racing enough for the opportunity and Sparks Energy for making it happen.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement

Categories
News

Joey Gase Ready for Talladega Double Dip

In addition to running the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sparks Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway next month, Joey Gase gets to compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500. Gase announced on Wednesday he will race the No. 15 Premium Motorsports entry on the 2.66-mile oval.

The opportunity comes due to sponsorship from Sparks Energy, which will team up with Gase to promote organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life, a supporter of Gase in XFINITY throughout this season, will be on the hood of his No. 52 Jimmy Means Racing entry, with AOC and MORA on the lower quarter panels.

“I can’t thank the great folks of Sparks Energy enough for teaming up with us not only on the track but also off it to promote organ, eye, and tissue donation and to honor all of those affected by it.” said Gase. “We will also have 4 honoree pictures on the XFINITY car: my mom Mary Gase (organ donor), Kobe Cameron (organ donor from Alabama), Dominic Pollard (organ donor from Mississippi), Wyman Pounders (Father of Sparks Energy’s CEO, Magen Sparks, who passed away while going through the transplant process).”

Gase has been successful at Talladega previously, finishing fifth in the XFINITY Series in May 2015. This past February, he finished seventh in the XFINITY Daytona event, along with a 23rd-place finish in his Daytona 500 debut.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

GASE: Top-10 Helps Boost Team Morale

With the draft having the ability to make everyone equal to each other, Daytona International Speedway has become known as the “land of opportunity” for smaller teams, ready to sneak up front among the usual front runners and walk away with a top-10 finish.

Just like he did two years ago at Talladega Superspeedway, Joey Gase was able to do that once again on Saturday afternoon in the Powershares QQQ 300. Gase crossed the finish line in seventh, marking his second career XFINITY Series top-10.

“It makes me feel really good,” Gase told POPULAR SPEED. “It helps in a lot of ways, confidence, sponsors, and team morale. The competition coming in this year, all these points are huge to help us get through the rest of the year. It’s huge.”

Running outside of the top-10 through the first segment, Gase was able to escape the pair of major wrecks which took out many competitors, moving up in the running order. The next segment saw Gase battle harder, making his way closer to the front, escaping the incidents once again. Being able to dodge the wrecks continually is something the Iowa native attributes to his “spotter, luck, and a little bit of skill.”

As the 120-lap event closed on the final laps, Gase continued to make his way towards the front, but almost saw his day end as he was one of the drivers to make a trip through the grass with 16 laps to go after Austin Dillon tagged Elliott Sadler.

With minimal damage to his No. 52 Donate Life Florida Chevrolet, Gase restarted the event inside the top-10. He then battled hard through the run to the checkered, even breaking into the top-five at one point, en route to a seventh-place finish.

Gase now hopes to carry the momentum into Sunday, where he will run his first career Daytona 500 for BK Racing, starting in the 29th position. Being able to run well today, as well as in his Budweiser Duel on Thursday, has helped build confidence.

“Hopefully the car will be there,” he said. “We haven’t really practiced much in the sun at all. It’s supposed to be cooler tomorrow too, so hopefully, that will help a little bit.”

Entering the 14th start of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, a first career top-20 finish certainly would be an accomplishment. However, with Daytona, there’s also the possibility he could turn in a stronger finish behind the wheel of his No. 23 Best Home Furnishings Toyota and be this year’s Cinderella story.

“You never know. I sure hope so.”

*Jason Schultz contributed to this story

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

Front Row Buys BK Racing Charter; Leases to TriStar

A day after Front Row Motorsports revealed the acquisition of one of its Charters by TriStar Motorsports, the organization has bought one of BK Racing’s two Charters for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

BKR’s No. 83 Charter now belongs to TriStar though because FRM is leasing it to the new Cup Series No. 72 team. BKR will compete in the upcoming season with only one Charter for the No. 23, which will be driven by Joey Gase and Gray Gaulding.

FRM’s two full-time cars will both remained guaranteed into all 36 points events for Landon Cassill and David Ragan because both entries are chartered. At the end of the 2017 season, TriStar’s Charter lease will end, and it will be returned to FRM, giving the Ford organization three Charters for 2018.

As the season gets closer and closer, the MENCS field is becoming more and more clear. To avoid any confusion, here is a list of all 36 Charter teams that will be guaranteed into every race this season:

  1. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
  2. 2 Team Penske
  3. 3 Richard Childress Racing
  4. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
  5. 5 Hendrick Motorsports
  6. 6 Roush Fenway Racing
  7. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
  8. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
  9. 13 Germain Racing
  10. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
  11. 15 Premium Motorsports
  12. 17 Roush Fenway Racing
  13. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
  14. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
  15. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
  16. 21 Wood Brothers Racing
  17. 22 Team Penske
  18. 23 BK Racing
  19. 24 Hendrick Motorsports
  20. 27 Richard Childress Racing
  21. 31 Richard Childress Racing
  22. 32 GoFas Racing
  23. 33 Circle Sport-The Motorsports Group
  24. 34 Front Row Motorsports
  25. 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
  26. 38 Front Row Motorsports
  27. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
  28. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
  29. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
  30. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
  31. 48 Hendrick Motorsports
  32. 72 TriStar Motorsports
  33. 77 Furniture Row Racing
  34. 78 Furniture Row Racing
  35. 88 Hendrick Motorsports
  36. 95 Leavine Family Racing

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @The5thJohnHav

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

BK Racing Still Trying to Secure 2017 Plans Around Youthful Driver Lineup

As Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway inches closer and closer, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series organization BK Racing still has not finalized all of its 2017 plans. The No. 23 entry appears set for the upcoming season, but the No. 83’s situation isn’t entirely clear.

Here’s what we know:

The team’s two full-time drivers from 2016 have not returned for this year. Matt DiBenedetto and crew chief Gene Nead join GoFas Racing for the upcoming season, and David Ragan returns to his former team Front Row Motorsports to drive the No. 38 Ford.

In late December, Joey Gase was announced as the driver of the No. 23 Toyota for three races in 2017, starting with the season-opening Daytona 500. He’ll also be in the car at Kentucky Speedway in July and Bristol Motor Speedway in August.

Earlier this week, BKR announced a 35-race deal with 18-year-old Gray Gaulding, who will drive the No. 23 for 33 races starting at Atlanta Motor Speedway and two more races in another car. Also, Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 83 on a part-time basis beginning with the Daytona 500.

What we don’t know:

The number of races LaJoie will compete in is undetermined at this point. And since he’s a part-time driver, the No. 83 will probably have at least one other face behind the wheel if the team will continue full time. A crew chief is yet to be announced as well.

Also, Racer.com reported on Wednesday the No. 83’s charter potentially could be on the market shortly. The team’s lack of security stems from questions about sponsorship, a need for crew chief, and a need for more drivers.

The No. 23 will definitely be full time with a charter, but the No. 83 will likely become a part-time entry if BKR decides to sell its charter.

What we want to know:

If the No. 83 keeps its charter, who else will be in the car? Of the trio of drivers that will compete with BKR, LaJoie is the oldest at 25. The organization has served as a stepping stone for young racers such as Landon Cassill, Alex Bowman, Ryan Truex and Jeb Burton since its inception in 2012, so it would only make sense if another up-and-comer gets his feet wet in NASCAR’s premier level. Who that could be is anyone’s guess.

And, is Gaulding ready for the Cup Series? He turns 19 next month and has only participated in 17 races across NASCAR’s top three series – 13 of them in the Camping World Truck Series, two in the XFINITY Series, and two in Cup. That’s not much experience. But if you ask him and team owner Ron Devine if he’s ready, they’d say yes.

“A lot of people might say I’m not ready. I’m too young. I feel like I’m physically and mentally ready,” Gaulding stated in an interview with CBS 6 Richmond. “I’m definitely going to feel some bumps in the road, but that’s part of being young. That’s part of being a rookie.”

Devine told CBS 6, “I think he’s earned the right to run at this level. He’s been successful at all the other levels, and that’s what you look for. You look for guys that can run up front at any level and then have good car control. He has great car control, and he’s fast.”

Your prediction?

Will Gaulding have a successful rookie season in NASCAR’s top series? Will BKR have two full-time cars this year?

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @The5thJohnHav

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

“They Said What?” Memorable Quotes – XFINITY Series

Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face – especially when they’re mad, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.

Throughout the NASCAR XFINITY Series season, I had the opportunity to speak to a bunch of different competitors, whether for features or following events. During those interviews, there were some quotes that stood out. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.

 

“I think it’s a rule change that somebody felt needed to be done – fans, media, whoever doesn’t like that Kyle Busch wins so much. So they’ve made a rule to protect against Kyle Busch. I don’t think we have a Cup driver problem. I think we have a problem with one driver and people don’t like it. I want to race against him each week so I don’t care. I want to race against him and try to beat him every week, so I can get better. So for me, it’s a rule they’ve made, it’s in place and it’s done. We’ll fight through it; we’ll keep racing, and hopefully it results in some more wins for us. But in the end, I still wish they were racing against us.”

Brendan Gaughan‘s opinion on the new “Competition Guidelines” for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars in the XFINITY & Camping World Truck Series.

 

“Matt (Kaulig) is such a loyal guy, and has stuck with me since the first time he sponsored me three seasons ago. It’s tough to succeed in this sport as it takes time, but that’s what it takes. You just need to find someone who will stick with you through the good and bad, and have your back. Matt has my back and believes in me, as well as everybody at Leaf Filter Gutter Protection, and my team at Kaulig Racing. Chris Rice and I have a good relationship, and that’s what it takes – good relationships to make it.”

Blake Koch on his relationship, partnership with Kaulig Racing owner Matt Kaulig

 

“It’s not the ideal situation, but it’s what we’re dealt with because we don’t have a $1 million plus to drive for them, so we have to do it ourselves. I’m still fortunate to be able to it, though. It’s just tough. We don’t have the money, engineering, all the people that they have. It can be hard and impossible to outrun them in certain places, so it’s frustrating, but at the end of the day, it’s still gratifying when you can get close to them and on some days, run right there with them and sometimes beat some of them. That keeps you going for sure.”

Jeremy Clements on driving for a small team against some of the big teams in the series, like Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports.

 

“It’s tough. We don’t have as much funding as the other teams but are hopeful that will change. We have maybe five guys at the shop, and those guys need to be at the track, so it’s hard to maintain the cars. We may be running the same car week after week, where other guys have new cars as they have them ready.”

Joey Gase on driving for a small team against some of the big teams in the series.

 

“I’d really like to. I’m not hiding the fact that I’m good on road courses in the car, but I could be good on an oval. I believe that I like the feel of the car and I think it suits my driving style.”

Alex Tagliani on wanting to eventually run an oval event in one of NASCAR’s top-three divisions. 

 

“I’m driving racecars for a living and it’s pretty amazing to get to do what I love to do. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a great race team and great partners like Lilly Diabetes and American Diabetes Association. I’m just trying to enjoy myself and enjoy the work process and trying to get better each week and spend time at the shop with the guys, and just try to have a lot of fun. Like I said, appreciate the whole process a little more rather than focusing just on the end goal.”

Ryan Reed 

 

“I have to say that it’s a dream come true. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am and to accomplish the goals that I have accomplished. It’s great to have the opportunity to move up the ladder and give myself a shot to run in the XFINITY Series.”

Ryan Preece on his opportunity last year to drive for JD Motorsports full-time.

 

“I always set my expectations a little higher for myself than others would. I sometimes leave the track disappointed more than others, but in a good way because I’m trying to push myself harder. The main thing right now is completing all the laps and not getting caught up in any wrecks so we can complete all the laps.”

Brandon Gdovic on his goals and expectations for the season. 

 

“It’s kind of been the rebuilding year. Everybody is starting to realize that Corey LaJoie can drive again.”

Corey LaJoie’s thoughts after pulling together a string of solid finishes this year, compared to the lack of success in a previous XFINITY attempt with Richard Petty Motorsports.

 

“Our car chief (Brent Wentz) this week said it the best – the races and championships aren’t won at the track, they’re won during the week with the preparation that we do in the shop. I definitely believe in that as that’s the approach that we had on the 2 car, so that takes a lot of pressure off on the weekend if you’ve done your work during the week and feel good with where you’re at the shop.”

Brian Wilson on whether there’s pressure on him to win as the crew chief for the Team Penske’s No. 22 entry. 

 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

Daytona 500, Bristol is Dream Come True for Joey Gase

After putting together three full seasons of XFINITY Series competition, combined with 13 Sprint Cup Series starts, Joey Gase is getting the opportunity to run a pair of races he’s always dreamed of running in 2017.

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native is set to run both the Daytona 500 and the Bristol August night race for BK Racing this upcoming season.

“Excited about it,” Gase told POPULAR SPEED. “Being able to race in the Cup Series is a lot of fun, and being in some of the best equipment that I have been in the Cup Series, and to be able to race in the Daytona 500 will be a dream come true. I’m good at restrictor plate races in the XFINITY Series, and I hope that’ll carry over to the Cup Series. Also, excited to race at Bristol in the night race for the first time, too. These two races are two of the biggest in NASCAR, and ones that you want to dream of being in during a kid growing up.”

While Gase has 13 previous Cup starts before this season, this year will mark his first opportunity to take part in the Great American Race to start the season. It’s an opportunity he’s not taking for granted, noting it means a lot to him.

“It took a lot of work and dedication, and this is a race that only 40 of the best get to run,” Gase said. “It’s the biggest race and people come all over to be at the race. So to be able to race in the event will be pretty amazing, and an eye-opening experience and it means a lot to me.”

Going into the races, Gase is keeping his goals in check, noting the first importance is running every lap and getting the best finish possible. Though after posting a top-five a couple of years ago at Talladega Superspeedway, he knows anything is possible with the restrictor plate factor at Daytona.

“With it being a restrictor plate race, we could either win it or finish last – and I feel that’s how everybody in the field is,” he said. “Everybody knows drafting is the big equalizer. You have to watch for the big one at the same time, and that big one can happen at the beginning or the end of the race. You just never know where that is. Our goals throughout Speedweeks will be to get the car good for the race, try and get a good qualifying spot, and see what we can do through the Daytona 500.

“In the other two races, if we could get in the top-25, that’d be a really good run for me.”

On top of the opportunity this year in Cup, Gase will be returning back to the XFINITY Series once again with Jimmy Means Racing for the full schedule.

“I think it’ll be the toughest competition that we’ve had in the XFINITY Series with a bunch of fully funded top teams coming in this year,” he said. “It’s going to be a fully stacked field, so with us being a smaller team, it’ll be even harder for us. If we continue to keep improving, I think we’ll be okay. At the superspeedways, if we can get another top-10 or top-five like we have in the past, and in the other races, try to be there as much as we can.”

Through every lap he can make on track, the 23-year-old is also spreading another important message in regards to organ donation.

The cause was brought to his attention when his mother died of a brain aneurysm in April of 2011. Shortly after, he began to learn more about organ donation, connecting with companies and foundations, forming a partnership with Donate Life.

For Gase, it’s not only about spreading awareness but educating others, as he says people would be surprised how much the decision to donate affects not only the recipient’s life but also the family of the donor.

“There are so many misconceptions out there about organ donation,” he said. “Lot of times if someone tells me they’re not an organ donor, I ask them why, and they don’t have a reason why. I then tell them that’s a great reason to be an organ donor if you don’t have a reason to not be.”

The work he has been doing was recognized by XFINITY and Comcast last year when he picked up the Community Champion Award.

“When we picked it up last year, it was very amazing,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to be even a finalist – so being a finalist was vry humbling. Nobody knew who the overall winner would be till they announced at the banquet. When I heard my name, I didn’t know what to think or expect, but I was very thankful, and I think it helped open a lot of eyes in the donation front. All the awareness that XFINITY, Comcast was able to get for us was really amazing; they were really open to helping us out, and obviously the donation they made really helped out as well.”

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Gase and BK Racing Announce Partnership for 2017 Season

Joey Gase continues to climb the NASCAR ladder as BK Racing announced on Tuesday that Gase would drive the No. 23 Best Home Furnishings Toyota for the team in multiple Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races next season starting with the 59th running of the Daytona 500.

The 23-year-old Cedar Rapids, IA native has competed in 13 career NASCAR Cup Series races with a best finish of 32nd coming at Phoenix last season.

“I cannot put into words how thankful I am for the opportunity everyone at Best Home Furnishings and BK Racing has given me,” said Gase. “Racing in the Daytona 500 and the Bristol night race has been a dream of mine since I can remember. It’s very exciting to share this experience with everyone at Best Home Furnishings and those who have helped me get to this point in my career.”

Gase has ran the full XFINITY Series schedule the past three seasons for Jimmy Means Racing, posting a best finish of fifth at Talladega Superspeedway in 2015.

“We’re thrilled to have Joey and Best Home Furnishings, one of the largest furniture manufacturers, join us for the Daytona 500 in February, said BK Racing team owner Ron Devine. “It is the largest race of our series and a wonderful event for Joey to debut his BK Racing relationship. We’ve been watching Joey’s growth for quite some time and looking forward to seeing what he can do behind the wheel of a BK Race car.”

Best Home Furnishings will serve as primary sponsor for Gase and the No. 23 car. Best Home Furnishings is becoming one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the world and has five locations in the United States.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with BK Racing and Joey Gase,” said Glenn Lange, CEO of Best Home Furnishings.  “Joey is a young, energetic and up-and-coming driver who has shown to be competitive from an early age.  His heavy involvement with the non-profit, Donate Life exemplifies our shared values and passion to exude excellence in all facets of our business and personal lives.”

“Our family has been involved with the collection of classic and sports cars for decades. To have our company’s name as a primary sponsor on a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car is a dream come true,” said Lange.

The decision for Best Home Furnishing to enter the sport of NASCAR was quite simple.

“NASCAR has some of the most loyal, passionate fan bases amongst the major U.S. sports scenes,” Lange said. “The cross section of this fan base also happens to align with our desirable furniture demographic.”

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