NASCAR penalizes Xfinity team for illegal test at Daytona

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR has fined an Xfinity Series team $50,000 because driver Alex Labbe violated the testing policy for the road course at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR will race on that configuration for the first time later this month and is not holding any practice sessions before the events. The sanctioning body has said drivers may participate in only one race that weekend in an effort to prevent competitors from gaining experience on the course.

In an attempted workaround of the rules, Labbe went to an SCCA event last weekend at Daytona to try to learn the circuit. NASCAR officials caught wind of his presence and ordered Labbe off the track.

NASCAR viewed Labbe being on track as an illegal test because of the car used. The Xfinity rule book states: “Private vehicle testing by any race team, employee, contractor, affiliate, associate, subsidiary, or surrogate is strictly prohibited.” Another section 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.”

Labbe at the test 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.

Team owner Mario Gosselin was fined $50,000 and docked 75 points in team owner standings for violating the private test policy. Labbe also was docked 75 points in driver standings — he already was 73 points out of the 12th and final playoff spot before the penalty and is now 148 points out.

Very few current NASCAR drivers have ever raced on Daytona’s road course, with their only previous chances coming in IMSA’s Rolex 24 endurance race. Reigning Cup champion Kyle Busch participated in the Rolex in January, while Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric competed in the Rolex in 2018 and 2019.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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