Joey Gase will compete full-time in the Xfinity Series this year, driving the No. 35 owned by Go Green Racing.
The team is owned by Archie St. Hilaire, who also owns Go Fas Racing in the Cup Series, which fields the No. 32 driven by Matt DiBenedetto.
Gase will work with crew chief Patrick Donahue, who he was paired with last year.
Gase, 24, has spent the last four years racing full-time for Jimmy Means Racing in the Xfinity Series and had driven for the team since 2012. But the native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, made his first five Xfinity and first 13 Cup starts for Hilaire.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” Gase said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint.” “We were debating on what would be the best thing for us to do. I worked with Archie and the guys over at Go Green Racing for a long time in both the Xfinity and the Cup Series. They’re a great family run operation and they seem always to get the most out of their equipment and what they can do with their sponsorship money. Myself and Sparks Energy wanted to jump on this opportunity.”
When Gase parted ways with Jimmy Means Racing at the end of last season, it was with the hope of finding a ride in the Cup Series, where he has 22 starts since 2014.
Gase said a potential goal is to move the entire No. 35 team up to the Cup Series in 2019 as a second car for Go Fas Racing.
Gase will be sponsored by Alabama-based Sparks Energy Inc., an electrical operations and restoration company.
Their partnership was born out of a direct message on Twitter in 2016. Gase, looking for a sponsor for the Xfinity race at Talladega, noticed the company followed him and sent the DM.
“I said, ‘Shoot, why not?'” Gase recalled.
A few hours later, Gase received a reply from the president of the company, Ottis J. Sparks, who wanted to know what Gase had in mind.
“I told him and luckily the year before we got fifth in Talladega and he loves underdogs and thought it was awesome that myself being a driver (was) actually looking out there for sponsors and not some agent for something,” Gase said.
The company went on to sponsor Gase in that race, plus three Xfinity events and one Cup race in 2017. It will also sponsor the April 28 Xfinity race at Talladega.
Gase said the team expects to announce its manufacturer in the next two weeks.