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Joey Gase talks his first Daytona 500 start with BK Racing, new sponsor

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Joey Gase said it would have been a “deal breaker” for sponsor Best Home Furnishings if BK Racing didn’t have a guaranteed spot in the Daytona 500 thanks to a charter.

“It’s so much easier for the sponsor, not that they don’t have faith in you that you’re not going to make the show, but if that didn’t happen all their people and guests they bring to the race they don’t get to see you in the big race,” Gase said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint.”

Gase will drive BK Racing’s No. 23 car in the Daytona 500 and two other Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races next season.

Gase’s chance to compete in the “Great American Race” began last year at Daytona when he met executives from Best Home Furnishings who make the pilgrimage to Florida for the Daytona 500 every year.

“They’re huge NASCAR fans,” Gase said. “(The Daytona 500) is their favorite race to go to. The owners of the company actually have Kyle Busch‘s car that he won the first (Car of Tomorrow) race in at Bristol (in 2007).”

Gase, 23, is set to make starts at Daytona, the night race at Bristol and the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. He is guaranteed to start all three thanks to BK Racing’s charer.

“That definitely takes some stress off because (Daytona) is supposed to be a stressful week or two,” Gase said. “All we have to do is focus on getting our car good for the race and taking care of the car through practice and the duels.”

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gase has experienced Daytona International Speedway, as a driver and a spectator, but he’s yet to pace the 2.5-mile track in NASCAR’s Premier Series.

In 13 Cup Series starts, none of them have been at Daytona. But Gase, who first visited the track for the 2008 Daytona 500, has raced on it nine times in the Xfinity Series.

“I’ve been in the Monster Energy Series at a bunch of other tracks, but never at the superspeedways,” Gase said. “When you’re watching on TV, you don’t think (the cars) are going that much faster, but when you really get in the car the sensation of speed is really so much more. It’s quite amazing. When you go to the Cup car back over to the Xfinity car it definitely helps on the Xfinity side because it slows everything down for you.”

The 59th Daytona 500 is set for Feb. 26.

In need of a wedding singer? Call Steven Tyler

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 05:  Singer Steven Tyler performs during his "Out on a Limb" tour at the Dolby Theatre on July 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA)
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA
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Steven Tyler has performed with Aerosmith in a video for ESPN back when it broadcast NASCAR races. Tyler also has performed before the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Now, he’s played Kurt Busch‘s wedding.

What more is left for the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer?

Tyler performed at a celebration for the marriage of Kurt and Ashley Busch earlier this month. Kurt Busch posted a photo of the evening.

That NASCAR-themed video Tyler did with Aerosmith for the 2007 season? Here it is:

Before he performed at Bristol in Aug. 2015, Tyler met Richard Petty:

Chip Ganassi Racing adds competition director

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  Team owner Chip Ganassi looks on as drivers perpare on Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing has hired Mark McArdle to be its competition director, a new position for the organization.

McArlde will oversee the team’s two Cup teams — Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray — and its Xfinity operation, which features Brennan Poole, Tyler Reddick, Justin Marks and Larson.

McArdle had been with Roush Fenway Racing. He joined the team in Nov. 2014 to oversee engineering for its Cup and Xfinity programs. He previously had been director of racing operations at Richard Childress Racing, joining that organization in April 2013. He spent four years before that at Furniture Row Racing, overseeing the team’s competition department.

At Ganassi, McArdle will report to Max Jones, team manager.

Last year marked the first time in the team’s history that it had two cars make the Cup playoffs. Both Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, though, failed to advance from the first round. Larson, who had one win, finished ninth in the points. McMurray, who was winless, placed 13th.

“I think everybody in the building feels like we took a good step forward last year,’’ said Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing. “We’re not happy with the step we took. We have more to do. So, being able to bring more of the leadership into the building that can focus on how we get there, the process that we need, we continue to bring on more people.

“I think Max feels like another person can help us make sure that everybody is focused on the right thing and we’re not wasting time and resources. Mark brings a tremendous amount of expertise to continue that growth that we’ve seen.’’

JR Motorsports to keep championship-contending tandem together

SPARTA, KY - JULY 07:  Elliott Sadler, driver of the #1 OneMain Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway on July 7, 2016 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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JR Motorsports confirmed Tuesday that crew chief Kevin Meendering will remain with Elliott Sadler this season.

Meendering and Sadler recorded three Xfinity wins last year in their first season together. Meendering also helped Sadler score a career-best 29 top-10 results and finish runner-up for the series title to Daniel Suarez.

The announcement was included in a team release about Hunt Brothers Pizza serving as the primary sponsor for Sadler’s car in two races in each of the next two seasons.

Wood Brothers give a tour of new race shop

LOUDON, NH - JULY 15:  Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, 2016 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images
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The Wood Brothers begin this season not only with a charter but with a new home.

The team had shared a building with JTG Daugherty in Harrisburg, North Carolina, but moved after last season to a shop in Mooresville, North Carolina. The move puts the Wood Brothers closer to Team Penske. The two organizations are aligned.

The Wood Brothers will again have Ryan Blaney as driver. The team also has a charter, leasing it from Go Fas Racing. That means the Wood Brothers team is guaranteed a starting spot in every Cup race this year, unlike last year when they did not have a charter.