NASCAR Xfinity: An eventful end of the race for Alex Labbé; Ty Gibbs wins in Atlanta (+ video)
Saturday March 19, 2022 by Philippe Brasseur
Fifth event of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season, this Saturday’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway lasted no less than 2 hours and 36 minutes, being neutralized 10 times (including 7 in the last segment, marked by multiple collisions) . And for the second time in 5 races this season, it was the young prodigy of Joe Gibbs Racing and grandson of the owner, Ty Gibbs (19) who won.
Driving the No.54 Toyota, Gibbs took the lead on the final lap in the second period of extra time to cruise to victory. Austin Hill (Chevrolet/Richard Childress racing) finished 2nd after dominating the entire end of the race. AJ Allmendinger (Chevrolet/Kaulig Racing) completes the Top 3, ahead of Riley Herbst, Landon Cassill, Mason Massey, Brandon Jones, Kyle Weatherman, Sheldon Creed and Ryan Sieg.
For Mario Gosselin’s team (DGM Racing), it’s a double Top 10 with Massey 6th and Weatherman 8th, while Quebecer Alex Labbé with another team Chevrolet, ranks 19th. A result all in all below Labbé’s expectations.
Fifteenth in free practice then starting from seventeenth place on the starting grid after qualifying was canceled due to rain, Alex Labbé was confident at the start, knowing that without a perfectly tuned car, he would would be difficult on this track to fight at the front. “A whole race! We had a bit of difficulty with the car at the start, the settings weren’t perfect and I had trouble keeping up with the other cars ahead. We worked on making big changes during the pit stops, which meant that in the end, we were more competitive,” says Alex.
At the end of the race, when he was in a position to aim for the Top 10 like his two DGM Racing teammates who finished sixth (Mason Massey) and eighth (Kyle Weatherman) at the finish, Alex Labbé unfortunately was spun by former IndyCar driver Sage Karam (number 44) two laps from the end (before the two overtime restarts). “It’s really unfortunate the maneuver of the 44, it hit me in the rear left, which of course unbalanced my car and caused the spin. That’s what made me fall to the back of the peloton” summarizes Labbé, who adds: “Thank you all the same to Pork Missile and Studio Fore for the precious support received for this race”.
The incident at the end of the race cost the Quebec driver a probable Top 15, or even Top 10. I hadn’t been so hit by the 44” recalls Alex, who quickly wants to forget this frustrating end of the race to turn to the next meeting, which appears to be very promising. “We’re going to COTA (Circuit of the Americas) next week. A road circuit for which we will have a new car, brand new equipment which should allow us to be really competitive” concludes Labbé about the next meeting on the road circuit in Austin, Texas.
To prepare for this race in Texas, Alex Labbé will spend two days with the DGM Racing team in Florida to fine-tune the preparation of his car, before returning to Quebec to practice the COTA layout on his simulator.
For the full standings from this Saturday’s race in Atlanta, click here. For the best video moments, see below…
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