Gase On Cram: ‘He Just Didn’t Know How To Lift’


Joey Gase throws his rear bumper cover at Dawson Cram's car at Richmond Raceway. (Alex Slitz/Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – A lap-173 incident between Dawson Cram and Joey Gase erupted into one of the more memorable moments in Richmond Raceway history on Saturday afternoon.

The wild sequence occurred in the closing stages of the NASCAR Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250 at the three-quarter-mile, D-shaped short track.

With Gase running 30th in the midst of a battle for the free pass to get back on the lead lap, 27th-running Cram came up behind Gase’s No. 35 exiting turn four onto the sweeping frontstretch.

Cram had a run on Gase and contacted the rear bumper of Gase’s car before the flagstand, enough to unsettle the back end of the NCPC Race Against Crime Chevrolet and send it spinning.

Gase’s machine ultimately backed hard into the outside SAFER Barrier in turn one, demolishing the rear clip, nearly tearing the rear decklid off, and damaging the back windshield in the process.

Angry at the way the incident played out, Gase proceeded to finish ripping off the loose rear decklid before walking down the track and hurling it at the hood of Cram’s No. 4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet.

As Cram passed through the accident scene, Gase’s decklid slid across Cram’s hood and up over the windshield before ending up flat on the racetrack at the end of the fray.

The sheet metal was eventually collected by officials and brought to the NASCAR hauler.

Cram soldiered on to a 25th-place finish, two laps down, while Gase was credited with 34th. The pair, understandably, had differing views of what happened during the incident.

“He kind of crossed my nose on [corner] exit,” Cram radioed to his crew under caution. “I just went to carry the tires down the frontstretch … I let him go at the start-finish line, and he started spinning. I only pushed him for, like, two seconds.”

“It was two seconds too many,” relayed frustrated crew chief Alex Bird back to his driver.

Gase gave his side of the story to reporters after being checked and released from the infield care center.

“I think [that came down to Cram] not having his head screwed on right,” said Gase. “I gave the kid his first opportunity ever in Xfinity and I know Johnny Davis [Cram’s team owner] isn’t in the business of wrecking race cars.

“We’re definitely not [trying to crash race cars] either,” Gase added. “We’re a small team. We were racing hard for the [free pass] there, and apparently, he just didn’t know how to lift. Maybe his throttle stuck, I don’t know.”

Gase admittedly left the day confused, as well as frustrated, as to the reasoning behind the crash.

“I don’t know why he’d wreck us there,” Gase noted. “I feel like it was pretty uncalled for, and I hope Johnny has a good little take with him.”

NASCAR history has seen its fair share of items thrown following on-track altercations, including gloves, steering wheels, and perhaps most famously, Tony Stewart hurling his helmet at the front bumper of Matt Kenseth’s car during the 2012 Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

However, to those inside the sport’s knowledge, Saturday was the first time an entire bumper had been thrown at another car in one of NASCAR’s three national series.

While that was a surprise to racing insiders and fans, alike, the shock to Gase was that the crash happened because of Cram – someone who he’d always had a positive relationship with in the garage.

“It was a huge surprise. … He comes over and borrows tools from us all the time,” Gase noted. “I think he just lost his head, like he does every week, unfortunately. He usually has speed for [the equipment] he’s driving, but he shoots himself in the foot.

“Sooner or later, he’ll either figure it out, or he’s not going to have a ride anymore.”

Gase also had a clever quip on X (formerly Twitter), before leaving the racetrack.

Cram told reporters after the race that he “wasn’t allowed to comment” on the crash, per FOX Sports insider Bob Pockrass.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series season resumes April 6 at another short track famous for short tempers and bumper-to-bumper contact, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.