Recognition of good deeds adds to optimism for Joey Gase in 2016

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Some people might have a hard time turning over a $60,000 check they received to a third party, but not Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase.

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native, who turns 23 on Feb. 8, earned the $60k as the inaugural winner of the Comcast Community Champion Award in November.

And almost as quickly as he received it, Gase gave the check to an organization that has been very important in his life, the Iowa Donor Network.

“Right when I heard about it, I knew who I wanted to give it to right away,” Gase told his hometown newspaper, the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “We sent it to them and they’re going to be able to put it to great use and bring more awareness to donation.

“Being able to talk in front of such a big part of the NASCAR community at the banquet was really crazy. To have (NASCAR vice chairman) Mike Helton and all those guys there listening — and I didn’t even know they were announcing the award at the Cup Series banquet. I didn’t even know about that until people started tweeting at me about it. That was really cool to see that as well.”

Gase received a lot of good publicity for his good deed, and resulting discussions with potential sponsors have things looking up for him, the No. 52 and team owner Jimmy Means for the 2016 season.

He earned a career-best fifth-place finish at Talladega last spring and is hoping to not only see more better finishes in 2016, but also to improve upon his season finishes in each of the last two years: 20th in 2014 and 21st in 2015.

“Each year we’ve been getting better and have made some strides,” Gase told the Gazette. “You want to get there right away, but sometimes it just doesn’t work like that.

“We’re an underfunded team and each year we’ve been getting more funds. That’s just what we need, is more funding. Hopefully next year we’ll have some of that.”

In addition to hopefully bringing more sponsors into the Means Racing fold for 2016, Gase told the Gazette he may run a few additional races in the Camping World Truck Series and potentially the Sprint Cup Series.

“We’ll be doing all the same stuff (in the Xfinity Series) and hopefully still improving like we have been every year,” Gase told the Gazette. “Hopefully, we’ll get top-20 points again. I’d really like to start finishing in the top 20 every week, on a consistent basis.”

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