Indianapolis, IN - Mother Nature had different plans for the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With torrential down pours on both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning the officials cancelled practice and pushed the Lilly Diabetes 250 to Monday morning. With practice and qualifying cancelled, they weren't sure what to expect but Joey would take to green flag from the 21st position in the Sparks Energy Inc Chevrolet.
After the long wait, Gase was ready to take on Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 5th time and for his 200th career NASCAR XFINITY Series race. With the wet conditions from the weekend NASCAR had schedule a competition caution for the field on lap 10 of the 100 lap race. The field stayed under green from the start all the way to the competition caution. Under the caution Gase reported that his Sparks Energy Chevy Camaro was pretty decent, but he was just a little snug up off. So with those notes provided CC Donahue ordered Gase to bring it to pit road for fresh tires, fuel and a left front shock adjustment. He would restart from the 23rd position.
Another caution would come out shortly after they would get the green; this one however was for the #66 of Brandon Hightower. During this caution Gase would relay that the car was pretty decent that run after the adjustments.
They would go back to green, but wouldn't quite make it to the end of stage one before getting another caution. This time it was for the #3 of Ty Dillon and #1 of Elliot Sadler. Gase had thought he might have sustained minor left front damage from the wreck. So to be safe he would come down pit road for fresh tires, fuel and assess any possible damage. After assessing the car there was no damage to be found just some grass in the grill that was running the water temperatures a little high. So they cleaned it up and sent him back out where he would restart 16th and lock that position down to end of the first stage.
Since they pitted under the last caution before the end of the stage they would stay out between stages. In doing so they would pick up nine spots and restart stage two in 7th.
The second stage was a fairly clean stage as they would stage green for its entirety. Gase said that he was a little too free everywhere at the end of that run, but he fought through and brought it to the green & white checkered in 13th.
Before the final stage would begin, he would bring it back to Sparks Energy crew for a tire pressure adjustment, fuel, and a track bar adjustment. However, during the stop NASCAR had claimed that there was an uncontrolled tire which would require Gase to restart in the very back to begin the final stage. That wouldn't hinder Gase and the team's fight as he quickly found himself back up into 18th by the halfway mark of the race.
Just a few laps later the stages first caution would be brought out for the #00 of Cole Custer who hit the inside wall extremely hard. After hitting the wall it would send him back up in the middle of the race track right in front of Gase. He and a pack of four others did an amazing job dodging the wreckage and escaped unscathed. While the caution was out, Joey would tell CC Donahue that the car was pretty decent that run. "I would beat #60 in the corners but I just don't have the motor on the straightaways. I need someone to help push me to pass," said Gase. He would bring it back to pit road for another fresh set of Goodyear's and fuel only.
The field would get the green with only 23 laps remaining, but they wouldn't even complete a full lap before another caution would come out. The #18 of Ryan Preece went barreling into the wall helicoptering him through the infield. Unfortunately this time Gase had sustained some decent damage to the nose of his car but nothing too substantial to knock him out of the race. The crew would get it fixed up without losing a lap and would get him back out on the track to bring it home for a season best finish of 15th!
Gase may have had to wait to get his 200th NASCAR XFINITY Series start this weekend in Indy, but the wait was well worth it. The team showed some real grit after having to serve a penalty sending them to the rear and sustaining damage in a late wreck all in the final stage of the Lilly Diabetes 250. It was just what the team needed to start the final stretch of the 2018 season.
Gase posted yesterday after the race, "Didn't realize today was my 200th start in the @XfinityRacing Series but pretty cool that we got our best finish of the season so far of 15th on it! We had a great car today but got some damage towards the end of the race. The guys did a great job fixing it and getting us to the end!"
It'll be a quick turnaround this week for Go Green Racing as they head out to Las Vegas for a second time this year. The Sparks Energy crew was at the shop in Mooresville at 6:00 a.m. this morning preparing for the short week as the hauler is set to head West Wednesday morning.
About Sparks Energy Inc.:
Sparks Energy, Inc. was founded in 2007 to address a growing need by both Investor Owned Utilities and Electric Co-ops for a quality workforce to perform storm response and energy restoration services. The Sparks Energy, Inc. team has over 35 years of experience in utility construction and management.
Sparks is a committed leader in Energy Restoration Management. Their crews are qualified for overhead/underground distribution, transmission, substation and ROW operations. They are composed of both union and non-union crews. The crews remain non-associated with mutual aid giving them the ability to move throughout the U.S. without having to request RMAG releases.
More photos from this weekend at Indianapolis motor speedway:
Joey Gase Racing