Cassill, Gase the double duty duo

Cedar Rapids natives have busy weekend, each complete two races from Friday to Sunday

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NEWTON — Brad Keselowski may have gotten all the attention nationally for his double duty efforts between Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway this weekend, but he certainly wasn’t the only driver doing some traveling to get in extra racing.

Both Cedar Rapids natives Landon Cassill and Joey Gase were also on the road and in the air quite a bit Friday through Sunday.

Cassill did the same double as Keselowski, finishing 13th at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night, then 41st at Pocono Raceway on Sunday after a blown tire resulted in hitting the wall. The whole weekend ended up frustrating for Cassill, as he fell from eighth on the final restart to miss out on another top 10, and then the obvious frustration Sunday.

Still, he remained upbeat after both finishes, opting for a positive perspective in some negative moments.

“Rough day, you’ll have those right? I love Pocono though. Such a fun track, beautiful scenery, great fans. I’m lucky to do this,” Cassill tweeted after Sunday’s race.

He had a similar tone after Saturday night, where his pit crew — which consisted of team members who aren’t normally charged with doing pit stops — lost him positions nearly every time down pit road. Cassill also had to weather a chaotic final restart that saw him get shuffled around and lose those few positions.

“We should’ve had a top 10 (Saturday night), we had the car to do it. But it’s all perspective, I guess, it’s a good finish, but just a little frustrated about that last restart where I just kind of got rooted off the bottom,” Cassill said after the race Saturday night. “It is frustrating (on pit road), but my guys, it’s all they can do. With the Cup guys at a different track, our pit crew isn’t here. My road guys are the ones doing the pit stops and that’s not their job. Their job is to prepare the racecar, not pit the racecar, and it’s just one of those deals we have to do. We know it’s something we’ve got to deal with.”

The cross-country double duty effort was his third this season, doing a Charlotte/Iowa double in May, a Road America/Sonoma double in June and then this weekend.

Cassill said there are obvious logistical challenges, and that his dedication to fitness helps in not getting to fatigued when logging so many laps and airline miles. And no matter how tough it is or frustrating the results, he’s thankful his two teams allow him to do it.

“I’m used to the travel anyway, and the biggest thing is missing some practice. But that’s nothing big,” Cassill said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without (my teams’) permission or their blessing. Hillman Racing (in the Cup Series) really has no reason to let me do this, other than they support me. It’s great for them to let me buzz out of Pocono early and hustle (to Iowa). And especially JD Motorsports (in Nationwide) to support me and wanting to make sure I’m running all the Cup races.

“It’s great to have two teams who are willing to work together.”

As for Gase, his weekend fared better results-wise.

The 21-year-old returned to the winner’s circle Friday night at Hawkeye Downs for the first time in two years after breaking out his No. 35 Late Model for Iowa Donor Night. He then drove back to Newton for Saturday’s race, where he finished 24th — a result that ties his third best finish of the season, and best since a 23rd at Dover.

Gase was all smiles Saturday when he got to Iowa Speedway, accepting congratulations from fans who had made the same trip he did from Cedar Rapids to Newton.

“The weekend started off really good getting the win at Hawkeye Downs … it was good being back there again and even better to get a win,” Gase said. “We only did the first session of practice (at Iowa Speedway on Friday) and from there drove straight to Hawkeye Downs. Then we stayed at home (Friday night) and drove back (Saturday).

“It was nice getting to sleep in my own bed.”

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