As the No. 53 Emerling-Gase Motorsports team has prepared its backup car for Saturday’s qualifying session for the Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway, the car will have a different driver behind the wheel.
Joey Gase will step in for CJ McLaughlin, who crashed the team’s primary No. 53 car in the opening moments of NASCAR Xfinity Series practice on Friday.
The team made the announcement on Saturday morning, ahead of qualifying.
In the statement, Emerling-Gase said, “After the accident in practice Joey Gase will step into the #53 Ford Mustang for today’s qualifying at Nashville Superspeedway, we want to thank SciAps and CJ for all of their hard work and we are ready to get to work today!”
— Emerling-Gase Motorsports (@EG_Motorsports) June 24, 2023
There are 41 cars vying for the 38 spots in Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250 field. Gase will now attempt to lock the No. 53 car into the show.
For McLaughlin, who has made a total of four starts this season, despite being initially scheduled for several more, it has been a trying season. The 30-year-old racer crashed in the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway.
A few weeks later, McLaughlin found trouble in practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After the primary car was destroyed in Vegas, Patrick Emerling stepped in for McLaughlin for the remainder of the weekend and the balance of the West Coast Swing.
McLaughlin, a native of Massachusetts, returned for back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series events at Talladega Superspeedway and Dover Motor Speedway and recorded finishes of 13th and 34th.
He was set to attempt his fifth start of the 2023 season this weekend, but with the practice crash, that attempt has been shelved.