Joey Gase finished 31st at Richmond International Raceway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, despite lacking tires and pit crew members, just one example of how Jimmy Means’ one-car squad is persevering.
”Richmond was really frustrating,” Gase explained to Speedway Media on Saturday. “We were short on tires and crew members, nevertheless, still a decent finish, good points night, huge thanks to Donate For Life Virginia for teaming up with us this weekend, just glad we didn’t lose anything.”
The Nationwide Series and Gase now hit the high and unforgiving banks of Talladega Superspeedway where they are prepared for anything and everything to occur.
“I’m really looking forward to Talladega,” Gase further expressed about anyone being able to win at ‘Dega. “Anything can happen, allowing anyone to win, and it’s kind of a crap shoot.”
Gase, 21, has not experienced a top-10 running, much less a victory, during a four-year tenure within the Nationwide division. However, with Talladega being recognized for its generous attitude towards underfunded organizations, Gase touched on the possibility of an unforgettable and emotional trip to victory lane this weekend.
“If we win this weekend then I’ll be excited for months,” Gase explained with a chuckle. “A victory would really put us on the map.”
Snapping back into expected circumstances, Gase is aiming to avoid damaging the car while producing solid runs each weekend.
“Our goal this season is to finish top-20 in the driver standings, and top-30 in owner standings,” Gase noted about his goals in the No. 52 Jimmy Means machine this season. “Thankfully, we are currently accomplishing those standards.”
The still-developing driver earned his career-best 19th place finish at Kansas Speedway driving for Jimmy Means during the 2012 Nationwide Series season. While his finishes aren’t there – probably due to equipment – he still manages to keep the car in one piece, making him a very respectable driver for an owner.
Gase has always been tagged as underfunded, therefore not a good driver, however that stereotype is slowly but surely starting to be ceased as the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native continues to make headlines not only by his contribution to Donate For Life but also for his on-track capabilities.
Many folks, especially new NASCAR fans, don’t understand the hardships that Gase faced and battled through. His life was flipped upside down three years ago when his mother, Mary Gase, passed way, unexpectedly, from an aneurysm.
Gase, 18-years-old at the time of the tragic death, decided to donate his mother’s organs and tissues which ended up saving 60-people’s lives.
“My mom always loved helping people. She always had a big heart,” Gase said a few years ago. “She was always helping people when she could and we knew if she could help all these people, if she could no longer continue her life, this is what she would want to do.”
Now, the competitor, while not on-track, helps spread newly acquired information about organ and tissue donation. He also visits hospitals during the week to spend time with patients and help cheer them up during the toughest of instances.
While many racers have different backgrounds and hair-raising stories, Gase’s journey and caring decisions are some of the most unbelievable things you’ll encounter, and again, he manages all of this while, still, going 200 MPH every weekend.