After getting his feet wet last year in the XFINITY Series, Alex Labbe is set to return to the second-tier of NASCAR once again in 2017.
Labbe stated at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo that he would be running three to four XFINITY Series races this season with Go FAS Racing.
The Quebec native made his series debut last year at Phoenix International Raceway driving for Mario Gosselin, finishing 23rd after starting in the 33rd position.
“I had a pretty nice experience as I went to Phoenix for my first XFINITY race,” he said. “I had a lot of fun. It’s what we dream of so it was pretty awesome.”
By completing all the laps last year at Phoenix, he has been approved by NASCAR to run any mile and a half tracks. One of his starts this year will be at an immediate speedway in hopes of continuing the approval process.
“After this, I will be able to get improved for bigger tracks,” he said. “I’m just trying to get out there, do the best that I can, and get approved as fast as possible so I can eventually run the full XFINITY Series schedule.”
Notably, there are no formal written rules to the NASCAR licensing approval, but rather it’s done on a “case-by-case basis,” per Labbe.
“It really depends on how you perform on track and how safe you appear,” he said. “That’s why I try to go out there and try to be as clean as possible, so I can get approved as quick as possible.”
On top of the partial XFINITY Series schedule, Labbe will also be returning to the NASCAR Pinty’s Series full-time in search of his first career series championship.
“We really want to win the championship,” he said. “I feel we have to win this year, personally, to further my career. It’s going to be a big year for us, and I am happy that everybody on the team is putting in the effort into the cars for the year. I’m excited.”
Labbe ran his first full season this past year, finishing seventh in points with a victory at Autodrome Chaudiere, six top-fives, eight top-10s, and three poles in 12 races.
For Labbe, getting his first career at Autodrome Chaudiere was a dream come true as that’s his home track. It also came in dramatic fashion, as he battled back and forth with eventual series champion Cayden Lapcevich as the pair traded the lead back and forth nine different times during the final 15 laps.
“I have a lot of miles there, and that’s my favorite track,” he said. “But we also want to improve on our championship result. Last year, we had a really solid year, but we still didn’t capitalize in certain spots. We need to get better for this year, and I think we’ll have a better 2017.”
Of course, beyond the ovals, the series is also made up of six road course events, which don’t intimidate Labbe as he feels he can win at any track. He’ll kick off the 2017 campaign on a road course at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park as part of Victoria Day Weekend.
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