|Photo- Courtesy of Joey Gase|
Age is only a number
Joey Gase started racing when he was eight and he set racing records by the time he was sixteen. Now at 19, Gase is competing against some of the best drivers in the sport in the Nationwide Series. Gase competes in a variety of racing leagues each season. He currently competes in the NASCAR K&N Series, part-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driving the No.39 car and races at his hometown track of Hawkeye Downs Speedway. Gase is not yet a household name but if he continues the path he’s on, soon we’ll hear about Gase running up front and competing for wins in races within NASCAR’s top series.
Recently I was able to interview Joey Gase about where he started in racing, where he is now and where he’s going in the future.
What is your racing background?
“I’ve been around racing all my life, my dad raced long before I ever did. I started racing go karts when I was eight years old. When I turned fourteen I raced open wheel modified for a year; the next year I started racing late models. In 2009 I raced Crate Late Models at New Smyrna Speedway during World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing (Speed Weeks) and finished 5th in points. Later that same year I was the youngest (16) ever to win a track championship at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Late Models. The following year I signed with SS Greenlight Racing as a development driver and raced in eight different series, PASS, Sunoco National Tour, NASCAR K&N, ARCA, USAR, ASA Midwest, ASA North, and Hawkeye Downs; Earning numerous wins, podiums, poles, and a track record. In 2011 raced in five different series, NASCAR Nationwide, USAR, NASCAR K&N, ASA Midwest, and Hawkeye Downs. I drove for Benny Gordon Racing in the USAR series earning two poles, setting two track records at New Smyrna Speedway and Rockingham Speedway, also earned a second place finish at the USAR race at New Smyrna. In the Nationwide Series I drove for Go Green Racing, had five different starts, one top twenty finish, and finished all five races. At Hawkeye Downs Speedway I had four wins with numerous top five’s. So far this year I have ten Nationwide Series starts thanks to Go Green Racing and Jimmy Means Racing with my best finish being 23rd. My next Nationwide Series start will be August 4th at Iowa Speedway with Go Green Racing. Also far this year at Hawkeye Downs Speedway I have two wins and five top five with five starts.”
Who was your racing role-model growing up?
“I had three big racing role models growing up, them being my dad, Rusty Wallace, and Kenny Schrader. My dad was a big role model for me because I was his biggest fan and got to watch him race every Friday. I was always a big Rusty Wallace fan; every weekend he expected to win and at the very least be up towards the front, I loved the will to win that he had. Kenny is a big role model to me because he just loves to race; it doesn’t matter if it’s a Sprint Cup or some race at a local dirt track. He has also raced at my local home track (Hawkeye Downs Speedway) many different times when I was younger so that automatically turned me into a Kenny Schrader fan.”
What is your best memory at the track?
“I don’t really know what my biggest memory would be right now, but the top ones would have to be getting fifth in points at New Smyrna Speedway during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing (Speed Weeks) in the Crate Late Models (2009), being the youngest (16) ever to win the track championship at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Late Models (2009), (2011) My first Nationwide Series start at Iowa Speedway and finishing 20th.”
What was your first job in NASCAR?
“My first job in NASCAR was in 2010 at Iowa Speedway for the NASCAR K&N Series race. I drove for SS Greenlight Racing and finished 23rd. It was also the first ever race for me in a steal body stock car and live pit stops.”
What’s the hardest part about racing you’ve had to deal with?
“One of the hardest things I have had to deal with sometimes is, not being able to find a sponsor. Unfortunately it cost money to be able to go fast and most teams don’t have enough money to do races without help from sponsors. So a lot of times when you can’t find a sponsor you won’t be able to race. Not being able to race because you can’t find a sponsor is not a very good feeling. It’s something that most racers have to go through at least a few times in their career so I always try to keep my head up and keep on pushing.”
Would you like to compete in NASCAR full-time one day?
“I would love to race full time and compete for a championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and even one day the Cup Series. My goal is for next year to race full time in the Nationwide Series and finish in the top fifteen in points.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
“In five years I hope I find myself competing for a NASCAR Nationwide Championship or racing full time in the Cup Series. If we can get a big enough sponsor I would even like starting up our own Nationwide team.”
What are your favorite things to do off the track?
“Off track I like to work on our own Late Models and Modified, go biking, swimming, and hanging out with friends. Also from time to time I and some of my buds go fish at some secret fishing spots we have.”
Do you like to hang out with other drivers off the track, if so who?
“I and Matt Frahm hang out when we can. I still live in Cedar Rapids, IA so most of the people I race against live back in North Carolina.”