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.