NNS: Joey Gase Ready to Tackle Charlotte Challenges Despite Recent Struggles

Jacob Seelman Carolinas Racing, Featured, NASCAR, Southeast 2 Comments

CONCORD, N.C. — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Joey Gase Racing photo — It may be coming home for most drivers and teams in NASCAR when the haulers roll into Charlotte, but the 1.5-mile in Concord has not been kind to Cedar Rapids, Iowa young gun Joey Gase as of late.

Gase comes to Charlotte hoping to buck a trend of bad luck from the spring, when his Means Motorsports team’s primary motor went sour and forced the crew to their back-up entry for the May event, an event where Gase struggled through the entire weekend and finished 34th.

“We just had so many things work against us here in the spring,” Gase commented on Friday afternoon in the garage area. “The motor in our primary Chevy went south on us and we had to go to our Toyota backup car and it just fought us all race long. I never felt like the car was quite where I wanted it and we just didn’t have the speed. I’m not a huge fan of Charlotte; it’s a so-so track for me, but I’m just hoping we can improve this weekend from where we were in May.”

Despite a 45-car entry list for this weekend’s event, Gase can breathe a little easier this go-round compared to this same event one year ago — he and the No. 52 team are locked in to tonight’s 300 -mile event.

“It’s a huge relief to be locked in this weekend; it’s the third-largest field this season and it takes a lot of the pressure off of our shoulders,” Gase said of not having to qualify in on speed. “That lets us focus a little more on where we need to be come race time tonight.”

Gase adds though that the field tonight will be much tougher than in recent weeks.

“Tonight, there’s not going to be as much room for error. A lot of the fast guys like Kenseth, Blaney; they’re going to race their way in and the slow guys are going to go home. Five cars are going to load up tonight and the field is going to be so much tougher and deeper tonight. That’s the hard part, but luckily, we aren’t one of them that has to worry.”

Gase struggled in practice, only able to post the 39th-fastest lap during the daytime session on Thursday and struggling under the lights to come in 42nd in final practice Thursday night.

“We were dragging the truck arm and trailing arm pretty bad in practice yesterday; it wasn’t the splitter, which really surprised us,” Gase explained. “Hopefully though we’ll be better in race trim tonight and can push that mark up a little bit.

So what are the goals for tonight’s 200-lap, 300-mile event? Realistic, the 21-year-old says.

“If we could notch a top-30 tonight, I would be really happy,” Gase said. “Normally we’ve been shooting for top-25’s this year, but knowing how many good cars are here and how deep the field is, if we can get a top-30 I’ll really be pleased with our effort here.”

The Drive for the Cure 300 goes green tonight at 7:46 p.m. Eastern time. Television coverage begins at 7 Eastern on ESPN2, with audio coverage on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Comments 2

  1. I have been to two events for the Nationwide Series this season, one at Michigan and a few weeks ago at Kentucky. The 52 team works just as hard if not harder than the other teams in the garage area. They don’t have the big sponsor that many of the other teams enjoy and this forces them to work on a very tight budget. Joey is a fine young man and has a bright future in racing. I think if some one would come in as a full time sponsor the 52 team would be running more in the mid pack area and would help Joey and the team get more attention from the media. Jimmy Means is a Legend in this sport and I have been a fan of his since the #52 Alka-Seltzer Pontiac days. I was working with Prodigy Computer during the 95-96 Winston Cup season and was doing the Dave Marcis Fan page for Prodigy. I never told Dave that those times when I was away from the 71 hauler I was over watching the 52 practice.

    Joey has had, “Donate Life” on the car since I’ve started watching him and I think that has helped people become Organ Donors. If he could get that full time sponsor to come on board along with,”Donate Life” it would help the team become a contender. I’m glad to see that he has had the chance to make two Sprint Cup starts this season. He can do the job, he just needs a little more attention from the corporate world and Joey will also become a household name.

    1. I agree with Dick. Well said. Joey is a talented driver, and he has a bright future ahead. Having a major sponsor in this sport is huge. Someone will come along and will see how talented he is.

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