Mario Gosselin

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NASCAR’s Pinty’s champion Alex Labbé to compete full-time in Xfinity

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Alex Labbé, the defending champion of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series in Canada, will compete full-time in the Xfinity Series this season.

The native of St. Albert, Quebec, will drive a Can-Am sponsored car owned by DGM Racing, which is operated by fellow Canadian Mario Gosselin.

The news was first reported by Le Journal de Montreal.

Can-Am sponsored Labbé in NASCAR’s Canadian series, where he drove for GoFas Racing and won six races the last two seasons, including five in his championship campaign. He earned 11 top fives and 12 top 10s last season.

Labbé, 24, has three Xfinity starts since 2016, all coming in a car owned by Gosselin. His best finish was 23rd in the fall 2016 race at Phoenix.

He will race at Daytona International Speedway for the first time when the series opens there on Feb. 17.

Labbé took part in an ARCA Racing Series test at Daytona in January to gain experience on the track.

The team’s cars will be built by Richard Childress Racing and prepared by Gosselin at a shop in Lake Wales, Florida.

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Two multi-car wrecks involving 30 cars bring out red flags early in Xfinity race at Daytona

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Saturday’s Xfinity Series season-opening Powershares QQQ 300 has been red-flagged twice in less than the first 30 laps.

The first red flag was the result of a major wreck that involved 18 cars. The pack was on Lap 23 of the scheduled 120-lap event when several drivers made contact, setting off a chain reaction crash.

Among those involved in the wreck were Cole Custer, Garrett Smithley, Austin Dillon, Michael Annett, Ray Black Jr., Jeff Green, William Byron, Blake Koch, J.J. Yeley, Ryan Reed, Brad Keselowski, Spencer Gallagher, Ryan Sieg, Tyler Reddick, Anthony Kumpen, Benny Gordon, Scott Lagasse Jr., Jeremy Clements, Clint King and Aric Almirola.

The first red flag lasted 18 minutes, 20 seconds.

The race went back to green flag racing on Lap 28 when yet another multi-car wreck – this time 12 cars – took place one lap later on the back straightaway, bringing out the red flag once again.

The second wreck occurred one lap before the scheduled end of the first of two stages in the race.

Drivers involved in the second wreck included Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Erik Jones, Chris Cockrum, Harrison Rhodes, Brandon Hightower, Matt Tifft, Blake Koch and Ryan Reed.

The second red flag lasted 27 minutes, 51 seconds.

When the racing resumed following the second wreck, of the 40 cars that began the race, only Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, Ross Chastain, Dakoda Armstrong, Brennan Poole, Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan, Kasey Kahne, Mario Gosselin and David Starr had not been involved in wrecks.

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Two big wrecks impact early going of Xfinity race at Daytona

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Friday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway has morphed into a wreckfest in the early going.

On Lap 8, a four-car wreck occurred that involved the cars of Scott Lagasse Jr., Mario Gosselin, Roy Black Jr. and Alex Guenette occurred.

But that was just an appetizer of bing-bang-boom racing when 14 cars crashed on Lap 15.

Involved were Ryan Preece, Austin Dillon, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Brandon Jones, Justin Marks, Joe Nemechek, Spencer Gallagher, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Ellis, Corey LaJoie and Brennan Poole.

“I seen the 6 (Wallace) side draft the guy in front of him and the 48 (Brennan Poole) just got into him,” said Austin Dillon, who led 10 laps before he was collected in the crash, which took his team six laps to repair before returning. “It’s just a product of guys trying too hard, too early, and a competition caution 10 laps from now. … It’s just speedway racing.”

The race was red-flagged two laps later, on Lap 17. The delay lasted 7 minutes, 40 seconds before the yellow caution flag was displayed.

The race resumed on Lap 22.

Erik Jones passes Busch, Larson for Xfinity win at Bristol

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Erik Jones got past Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson with three laps left to win Saturday’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Jones’ win ended Busch’s four-race win streak across NASCAR’s three major touring series.

With three laps to go on the final restart, Jones got a great jump, passing Busch, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, and then set his sites on Larson.

After at least two times where their cars touched, Jones got past Larson to take the victory.

“I figured at some point we’d get a win,” Jones said. “I knew it would be a tall task to do it at Bristol. It’s a big day for us.”

In addition to being the first full-time Xfinity Series regular to qualify for the Chase for the championship, Jones also won $100,000 for capturing the first of four Dash 4 Cash races this season.

Busch finished second, followed by Larson, Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier.

“Restarts for us were horrible today,” Busch said. “It’s frustrating when you’re in position, have a chance and you just throw it away. (Jones) deserves to win.”

Added Larson, “I definitely didn’t want to see that caution and knew I was tight on short runs and just did a really bad job on that restart, a really, really bad job. I felt, I know, I gave that one away. It hurts to lose one like that.”

MORE: Results of Xfinity Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol

MORE: Suarez holds on to Xfinity points lead; Jones climbs to second with win

HOW JONES WON: Pure patience. Jones took advantage of a great jump on the final restart, traded fenders a couple of times with Larson and then motored to the win. Jones led 62 of the 200 laps.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: The battle between Larson and Busch was the story of the day. Larson led a race-high 94 laps, while Busch led 43 laps. But neither could stop Jones on the final restart and had to settle for second (Busch) and third (Larson). … Justin Allgaier had a strong run, as did Daniel Suarez, finishing fifth and sixth respectively.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Mario Gosselin made contact with Ryan Reed with 12 laps left and suffered left front damage that relegated Gosselin to a 24th-place finish. … Matt DiBenedetto retired after just four laps and finished last (40th). Josh Wise finished 39th, while J.J. Yeley was 38th.

NOTABLE: Jones announced after the race that his father was diagnosed with cancer in the last month. He cried in Victory Lane while talking to his parents on the phone. … This was Jones’ third career victory in 33 Xfinity Series starts. … Jones moved up three spots and into second place in the Xfinity Series points standings. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez remains atop the points with a six-point lead over Jones and an eight-point edge over Allgaier.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The two cars that were the class of the field didn’t win,” – Kyle Busch on the race-long battle he had with Kyle Larson.

WHAT’S NEXT: ToyotaCare 250 on April 23 at Richmond International Raceway

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Austin Dillon leads wire-to-wire in second Xfinity heat race at Bristol

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Just like Erik Jones did in the first Xfinity Series heat race Saturday afternoon, polesitter Austin Dillon led all 50 laps in the second heat race prior to the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

It was actually a brother-brother show, as Austin Dillon’s younger brother, Ty, finished second, followed by Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez and Kevin Harvick.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Aric Almirola, Jeb Burton, Blake Koch, Jeremy Clements and Ryan Sieg.

Finishing 11th through 20th in the 20-car field were Mario Gosselin, David Starr, Ryan Preece, BJ McLeod, Garrett Smithley, Ryan Ellis, Derrike Cope, Ray Black Jr., JJ Yeley and Josh Wise.

Ty Dillon and Suarez become eligible for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash contest that will be part of the main event, joining the two top finishers in the first heat race, Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier.

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