Gase back in Nationwide driver's seat

Gase will drive No. 52 car for Jimmy Means Racing

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Jimmy Means Racing means Joey Gase receives another shot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

The talented young driver from Cedar Rapids returns to the elite auto racing circuit after a two-race hiatus from competition.

Gase will be behind the wheel for the No. 52 car of JMR at the Nationwide Series Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 this weekend at Iowa Speedway in Newton. Gase started the first five races of the season with Go Green Racing, but was without a ride when he found himself without sponsorship.

"I'm super excited about it," the 19-year-old Gase said. "I'm really glad he's able to help us out and put me in the car for this weekend. I'm really glad to be back in the Nationwide Series and even more glad to be racing at Iowa Speedway."

Gase is 29th in the Nationwide Series points standings, placing 23rd in the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 24. He completed 148 of 150 laps of that race and has finished 29th or higher in three of his five starts.

The deal had only been in the works for a week or two. The future is uncertain, but Gase wouldn't mind an extended relationship with JMR and hasn't ruled out a chance to rejoin GGR. The car will be sponsored by, a livestream reality TV show expected to debut in December.

"It's a big relief to know I'll be back in the Series again," Gase said. "We're hoping to do more races with Jimmy Means Racing. We'll see what all happens and maybe we'll fins a sponsor again here soon.

"We're glad to have ( on the car this weekend. We're hoping to keep them on the car."

That appears to be the biggest hurdle to clear for Gase. Sponsorship in auto racing is an on-going battle that affects almost everybody.

"It seems even the top teams are having trouble finding sponsors in the Nationwide Series," said Gase, who raced the last two Friday nights at Hawkeye Downs Speedway, earning a late model feature win last week after Griffin McGrath was disqualified after failing a post-race inspection. "No matter what position you are, you're almost always looking for sponsors.

Gase made his Nationwide Series debut last August at Iowa Speedway, placing 20th for GGR in the U.S. Cellular 250. He enters the race with confidence.

"I'll be very happy if we get a top 25," Gase said. "The team I'm with is a very good team, but they're very underfunded at the same time."

The race weekend kicks off Saturday with Nationwide Series practice 8:30 a.m.  with NASCAR K&N Pro Series practice at 11 a.m. Nationwide Series qualifying is 3:40 p.m. Saturday, and race Sunday at 1 p.m.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series has qualifying Saturday at 5:10 p.m. followed by the race at 7.

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