|Gase turns a lap at Talladega [Joey Gase Racing]|
Sometimes, it’s just the wrong place at the wrong time.
For Joey Gase and the No. 52 Sparks Energy, Alabama Organ Center Chevrolet, Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway stood as the place of opportunity for the small team as they tried to contend up front to have a repeat of last year’s top-5 finish.
Starting back in the 37th spot after single-car qualifying on Saturday morning, Gase lost the lead draft in the opening laps. Despite falling behind the leaders, Gase gained 10 spots to move into the 27th position before a competition caution flew on lap 20.
The Jimmy Means Racing crew pitted for tires and a full tank of fuel before the race restarted on lap 26.
Lining up 21st, Gase used the inside and middle lanes of three-wide racing to jump into the 16th spot as the field came through Turn 2 on lap 30. It was then, unfortunately, when the wrong time hit as Chris Cockrum’s No. 25 was turned into Gase, spinning both cars head-on into the backstretch SAFER barrier wall.
As Cockrum spun through the air, Gase nosed into the inside wall and slid to a stop. Thankfully, Gase climbed from his battered Sparks Energy Chevy before being officially scored in the 38th finishing spot.
“I saw the [No.] 25 up there, seemed like causing a lot of problems,” Gase told FOX Sports 1 after the crash. “I tried to go to the inside, tried to get by them because I knew something was going to come.
“Sounds like the [No.] 0 making rookie mistakes and pushing for no reason and spun [Cockrum] into me. I couldn’t see anything, he just cut across me.”
Despite the accident, Gase maintains 23rd spot in driver points as the XFINITY Series next heads to Dover International Speedway, a track Gase has made seven prior starts, finishing a best of 23rd in 2014. [PR, 5-1-16]