Cedar Rapids Own Joey Gase Races Into The Hearts Of The Nation
When it comes to racing, I'll admit, I'm not the biggest fan of the sport. It's just not my cup of tea. I'm guessing many of you reading this may feel the same. However, after this past weekend, I have a feeling that number will be falling as NASCAR driver Joey Gase, a Cedar Rapids resident, jumped into the hearts of the nation after a remarkable finish this weekend. But it's not just his racing. Rather, it's the reason he races that warms the heart.
Two years ago, we had the opportunity, rather the privilege, to be a part of the Joey Gase Racing Team. Joey, a Xavier grad and Mt. Mercy student, was just starting out in NASCAR, hoping to complete a full season, and was looking for sponsors to help support him, and keep him racing. We gladly jumped aboard to help promote his name, his fanbase, and his mission. Maybe you saw us at our NewBo outings. You see, Joey is a bit different from most drivers. While he does race for fun like most of his competitors, Joey also races for a cause.
In 2011, Joey came home to find his mom unresponsive, from which she would never wake up. At the age of 18, he had to make tough decisions, one of which was to decide that mom would want to donate her organs. And now, he races to raise awareness on the importance of organ and tissue donation. And there couldn't be a nicer guy than Joey. I was simply blown away by him from Day 1. I guess I always figured race drivers would be slightly pompous and arrogant, as competitiveness if what fuels them. Joey is not even close to that. He loves meeting fans and sharing his story, and all so humbly.
It's been a tough ride up to this point for Joey. He always has such high aspiration, but unfortunately he just doesn't have the financial backing to have as solid of a car as his competition. His team is not one of the mega teams out there who seem to have unlimited supplies. In fact, Gase was out of tires before the race was over, but was able to grab some old practice tires from Dale Earnhardt Jr., which would be the tires he'd finish on. He also almost didn't even qualify to make the race due to vehicle body issues, making his qualifying car really slow. He started the race at 39 of 40.
In case you hadn't heard, Joey finished the race in 5th place, the highest placing in his career, as well as the first top 10 finish for his team, Jimmy Means racing, since 1987. Previously, Joey's best finish was 11th at a race last year, with his career average finish at about 27th. So this is pretty big, also given the fact for ANY driver to move from 41st to 5th is a pretty grandiose accomplishment. And a testament to Joey's character, he got huge support and congratulations from so many others in the industry, including some of racing's biggest names. Joey is so well respected in the industry, and it's no surprise, as he's got such a huge heart, and amazing spirit.
Congrats to you Joey! We'll continue to watch your future successes and wish you the best. We couldn't ask for a better ambassador for our city.