Mario Gosselin

DGM Racing wins appeal, gets back 75 driver, owner points

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Xfinity Series team DGM Racing has won its appeal of a L2-level penalty assed by NASCAR regarding an alleged violation of its private testing policy.

On Wednesday, the three-person National Motorsports Appeals Panel overturned a penalty that docked DGM Racing 75 owner points and 75 points for driver Alex Labbe. It also overturned a $50,000 fine for team owner Mario Gosselin.

Getting 75 points back puts Labbe at 323 points entering Saturday’s race on the Daytona road course (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN). That puts him 16th in standings. Fifteenth is Daniel Hemric at 328 points. Brandon Brown holds the final Xfinity playoff spot at 403 points. Labbe is 80 points out of final playoff spot with eight races left until the playoffs.

The overturned penalty was issued Aug. 4 following an SCCA event the previous weekend on the Daytona road course that Labbe participated in.

NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck teams will race for the first time on the Daytona road course this weekend. There will be no practice before each race. Drivers are not permitted to compete in more than one series event as a way to get extra track time.

Labbe was listed in Regional Race Group 7 in a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro. The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro is the approved model for Chevy teams in the Xfinity Series.

NASCAR viewed that as an illegal test because of the car used. Section 5.1.a of the Xfinity rule book states: “Private vehicle testing by any race team, employee, contractor, affiliate, associate, subsidiary, or surrogate is strictly prohibited.”

Section 5.1.d of the Xfinity rule book states: “NASCAR, in its sole discretion, will determine in advance what constitutes an authorized test. In general, only tests conducted under the NASCAR National Series Unified Testing policy are considered to be authorized tests.”

NASCAR penalizes Xfinity owner, driver for testing violation; team will appeal

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NASCAR fined Xfinity car owner Mario Gosselin $50,000 and docked him 75 points for violating the private test policy last weekend at Daytona International Speedway with driver Alex Labbe.

NASCAR docked Labbe 75 points for the L2 violation. Labbe was 73 points out of the 12th and final playoff spot before the penalty.

DGM Racing stated that it will appeal the penalties. The team stated: “DGM Racing is aware of the allegations against us. We feel we followed all the proper protocol and will be appealing the penalty. We are unable to comment further. Thank you for the support we have received so far.”

The issue stems from an SCCA event last weekend on the Daytona road course that Labbe participated in.

NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck teams will race for the first time on the Daytona road course this month. There will be no practice before each race. Drivers are not permitted to compete in more than one series event as a way to get extra track time.

Labbe was listed in Regional Race Group 7 in a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro. The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro is the approved model for Chevy teams in the Xfinity Series.

NASCAR viewed that as an illegal test because of the car used. Section 5.1.a of the Xfinity rule book states: “Private vehicle testing by any race team, employee,  contractor, affiliate, associate, subsidiary, or surrogate is strictly prohibited.”

Section 5.1.d of the Xfinity rule book states: “NASCAR, in its sole discretion, will determine in advance what constitutes an authorized test. In general, only tests conducted under the NASCAR National Series Unified Testing policy are considered to be authorized tests.”

NASCAR also stated penalties that stem from last weekend’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and had already been announced.

Those penalties included suspensions for the New Hampshire race for crew chiefs Jerry Baxter and Ryan Sparks after ballast was found to be improperly mounted before the race. The teams also were docked 10 points and drivers Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie each were penalized 10 points.

NASCAR also stated that Clint Bowyer‘s crew chief, Johnny Klausmeier, will be suspended for Saturday’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN) after two lug nuts were found to be not safe and secure after the race. Stewart-Haas Racing has stated that Greg Zipadelli, the team’s director of competition, will fill in for Klausmeier for Saturday’s race.

NASCAR fined crew chiefs Jeremy Bullins, James Small and Randall Burnett $10,000 each for having a lug nut not safe and secure on their car after the race.

 

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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Canadian driver Cameron Haley steadily improving as rookie in Truck Series

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Look at a list of drivers competing in NASCAR’s three national series and you’ll soon notice why Cameron Hayley is unique.

Most hail from the United States with a few exceptions. Daniel Suarez and Carlos Contreras are from Mexico and primarily compete in the Xfinity Series, but when it comes to drivers that call Canada home, only three drivers can make that claim.

One of those is Hayley.

While Mario Gosselin and Derek White race in Xfinity, Hayley, a native of Calgary, Alberta, is the only Canadian competing in the Camping World Truck Series.

Hayley, 18, is in his rookie season in the Truck series, having driven the No. 13 Toyota for ThorSport Racing in the first four races of the year.

“Obviously we don’t have almost any drivers coming up from Canada into the national series,” Hayley told media Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It was difficult for me coming up, moving up through the ranks.”

Hayley said his fortunes began to change when he won the 2013 K&N Pro Series’ UNOH Battle at the Beach in Daytona. Driving for Gene Price, Hayley was one of six Canadians in the race that also featured Kyle Larson, John Hunter Nemechek and Ben Kennedy.

Hayley won on a last-lap pass in Turn 4 as he banged against the door of Gray Gaulding crossing the finish line. It was the only lap he led. Combine the win with a move to the K&N Pro East Series and people started to know who the Canadian driver was.

In June of that year, Hayley was announced as a member of the 2013-14 NASCAR Next class, which included Suarez, Dylan Kwasniewski, Kennedy,  Brett Moffitt, Ryan Gifford and Gaulding.

“It does seem like a long time ago now,” said Hayley, who recently moved to Sandusky, Ohio, where ThorSport Racing is headquartered. “I mean, it was only two years ago, but when it comes down to it – I’ve done so much since then. I’ve done so many races since then that it seems like a long time ago for sure.”

Now Hayley is in a prime position to make his name even more recognizable.

Through four races, Hayley’s best finish came last week at Kansas Speedway. He claimed fifth position for his first top five in seven CWTS races. Since finishing 23rd at Daytona International Speedway due to a wreck, Hayley has steadily improved, finishing 14th at Atlanta Motor Speedway and 11th at Martinsville Speedway.

All four races were Hayley’s first at those tracks and Friday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will continue that trend.

“Adjusting to all the different tracks and having all the tracks being new has definitely been difficult, but ThorSport has given me great trucks week in and week out,” Hayley said. “We’ve had great trucks and had some bad luck, and I think Charlotte is going to be another one where I have lots to learn, but I think we have a great truck here and can do well.”

It also helps to have two veteran teammates, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, in the ThorSport Racing stable.

Crafton, a native of Tulare, Calif., is the two-time defending series champion, and Sauter, a native of Necedah, Wisc., is a 10-time Truck race winner.

“I don’t really know him, he’s a rookie new to the deal – but I think he’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders,” Sauter said. “I see him doing things that maybe necessarily don’t see from a lot of rookie drivers and I think he’s taking care of his equipment and showing speed at the same time.”

Said Hayley: “I can study race tapes, videos all I want, but until to you talk to a driver you don’t really know a first-hand account of what’s happening,” Hayley said. “I haven’t been quite quick enough to run up beside them during races yet, but I think we’re getting there, and I think I can learn a lot from that as well.”