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Appeals panel amends penalty of suspended former Xfinity crew member

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The National Motorsports Appeals Panel announced Wednesday it had amended a penalty assessed on May 9 to former Xfinity Series crew member Michael L. Hayden.

Hayden was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after getting into an altercation with JP Motorsports owner Jerry Hataway in the infield of Dover International Speedway on May 4 and breaking his jaw.

After hearing Hayden’s testimony, the appeals panel rescinded the indefinite suspension.

Hayden is now required to pay a $1,000 fine and must immediately enroll in NASCAR’s Reinstatement Program and follow all requirements issued.

According to the Dover Police Department, Hayden, 33, and Hataway, 56, were in a “verbal argument over issues pertaining to Hayden’s employment with the team” when Hayden began punching Hataway.

Hayden later told ESPN that he was acting in self-defense.

“He came at me first,” Hayden said. “He put his hands on me first and I hit him. He kept coming after me after I had hit him. Even when we were getting separated from NASCAR officials and by people from other teams, he kept coming after me.”

The three-member appeals panel was made up of Richard Gore, Hunter Nickell and Mike Skinner.

Hayden can appeal the decision to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.

 

Former Xfinity crew member arrested for punching, breaking team owner’s jaw

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Lawrence Hayden, a former Xfinity Series crew member, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree assault Friday morning at Dover International Speedway after punching JP Motorsports owner Jerry Hataway and breaking his jaw.

The Dover Police Department was called to the track’s infield around 10:51 a.m. in response to the assault.

According to the DPD, Hayden, 33, and Hataway, 56, were in a “verbal argument over issues pertaining to Hayden’s employment with the team” when Hayden began punching Hataway and broke his jaw.

Lawrence Hayden (Dover Police Department)

Hataway was initially treated at the Fan Care Center in the track’s infield. He was then transferred to Bayhealth Kent General Hospital for more treatment. Hayden was arrested without incident.

Hayden, who resides in Concord, North Carolina, was released on $500 bail.

“Crew member Lawrence Hayden has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR following his arrest by the Dover Police Department,” a NASCAR spokesperson said in a statement provided to NBC Sports. “NASCAR will continue working with local law enforcement and will have no further comment at this time.”

JP Motorsports fields the cars of Josh Bilicki and Stephen Leicht.

Josh Bilicki to run second car for JP Motorsports in Xfinity Series

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Josh Bilicki announced Monday that he’ll drive a second car for JP Motorsports this season in the Xfinity Series, piloting the No. 45 car. JP Motorsports, a team owned by Phyllis and Jerry Hattaway, will have Stephen Leicht drive the team’s No. 55 car in the Xfinity Series this year.

The 22-year-old Bilicki has made nine career Xfinity starts, including six last season. His best finish last year was 12th at Road America for B.J. McLeod.

“I’m ecstatic to announce a full season effort in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with JP Motorsports in the #45 Prevagen Toyota Camry,” Bilicki in a statement.  “I have gained a lot of valuable experience over the past two years by racing at different tracks and with different teams, but it will be nice to show up to every race this year with the same team. I come from a road course racing background, so there are still several NASCAR tracks that I have yet to race. It feels great to have the business side of things done before the season starts, so now I can focus solely on driving. It will be a year full of learning, but we have good equipment and cars and will be competitive from the start.”

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