2017 Brickyard 400

Joey Gase teams up with Lisa Foundation to race for a purpose

Written By: Brett Korpi

With two-laps to go in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ 24th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Joey Gase had raced his #15 car in the top-10. However, after a major pileup on the final laps, Gase would finish in 25th place.

Despite the unlucky turn of events, the race should be viewed as a success for the 24-year old. Gase’s Chevrolet was adorned in a paint scheme honoring The Lisa Colagrossi Foundation. The foundation is the nation’s leading organization promoting awareness and understanding of brain aneurysms.

The foundation is close to Gase’s heart. His mother, Mary Jo, died of a brain aneurysm in 2011 when Gase was just 18 years old.

The foundation is named in honor of Lisa Colagrossi who passed away in 2015 also due to a brain aneurysm. The highly-regarded ABC News reporter was a loving wife and mother of two young boys. Her husband, Todd Crawford, founded TLCF to raise awareness of brain aneurysms and their warning signs shortly after her death.

Despite the unlucky turn of events, the race should be viewed as a success for the 24-year old. Gase’s Chevrolet was adorned in a paint scheme honoring The Lisa Colagrossi Foundation. The foundation is the nation’s leading organization promoting awareness and understanding of brain aneurysms.

The foundation is close to Gase’s heart. His mother, Mary Jo, died of a brain aneurysm in 2011 when Gase was just 18 years old.

The foundation is named in honor of Lisa Colagrossi who passed away in 2015 also due to a brain aneurysm. The highly-regarded ABC News reporter was a loving wife and mother of two young boys. Her husband, Todd Crawford, founded TLCF to raise awareness of brain aneurysms and their warning signs shortly after her death.

“Nobody had ever focused on educating the public on brain aneurysms or the warning signs or what to do if you were experiencing one,” Crawford said while speaking on his motivation to start TLCF.

“We try to create programs that really stand out and grab the attention and speak to millions of people at the same time.”

By racing at the historic track in his #15 adorned with logos of TLCF and medical-device maker Medtronic who made a generous donation, Gase, was able to help the cause by garnering unprecedented media coverage for TLCF from the likes of USA Today, ESPN, NBC Sports, and Sirius Satellite radio.

“NASCAR presents an opportunity no other sports presents,” Crawford said of the innovative opportunity for TLCF. “This is about the unscripted drama of NASCAR converging with the unscripted drama and tragedy of real life in this case brain aneurysms. That is what the #15 car represents.”

Spreading awareness and the bond that Crawford and Gase share is not the only reason Crawford wanted to sponsor the young driver trying to break into NASCAR’s top series.

“I really believe in the kid. He has a great story,” Crawford praised. “ But, he is also very skilled. I believe he is the best-unsponsored opportunity in all of NASCAR. We wanted to give him a ride.

The car piloted by the rising star also received donations from hundreds of supporters throughout the country.

Ribbons were placed on car honoring victims and survivors of aneurysms.

Included was a picture memorial of former Indianapolis Colts Konrad Reuland, whose story gained notoriety when he donated his organs to Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew.

Even though Gase was just laps away from honoring those whose lives were also affected by brain aneurysms, the attention he was able to bring to TCLF and the trauma is not lost on Gase.

“It means a lot to raise all this awareness for a brain aneurysm to be able to honor my mom, Konrad (Reuland) and Lisa (Colagrossi), and everyone else on the car and anyone affected by brain aneurysms,” Gase said. “Unfortunately, there are many people out there that don’t know what a brain aneurysm is.”

To learn more about brain aneurysms and The Lisa Colagrossi Foundation at http://lisafoundation.org/