Nationwide afternoon test session ends early with Chad Boat in P1

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The final day of NASCAR Nationwide Series testing at Daytona International Speedway was curtailed with roughly an hour and a half to go before the scheduled end point of 5 p.m. ET.

Chad Boat, who recently announced a part-time Nationwide program for this season, was quickest in the abbreviated afternoon session with a lap of 187.778 miles per hour in the No. 84 Billy Boat Motorsports Chevrolet.

However, that’s a couple miles per hour slower than Dylan Kwasniewski’s 190.022 mph lap he ran this morning, which will stand as the fastest lap throughout the Nationwide portion of Preseason Thunder.

The Camping World Truck Series drivers and teams are now set to have Daytona’s famous 2.5-mile oval to themselves for their Thunder test on Monday and Tuesday.

Boat was followed in the afternoon session by Kyle Larson’s lap of 187.703 mph in the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet. P3 went to Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed in the No. 16 Ford, which turned in a lap of 187.496 mph.

From the sanctioning body’s perspective, Nationwide Series director Wayne Auton said today that the drivers have given high marks to the changes made to the Nationwide cars for 2014, which include smaller spoilers, a new rear spring package, and new cooling systems.

Also, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton talked further about the decision to outlaw two-car tandem drafting for restrictor-plate races in both Nationwide and Trucks.

Pemberton was posed a hypothetical situation by a reporter in which a tandem takes place on the last lap or with two laps remaining in a race. In his response, Pemberton, while noting the unofficial rule of drivers having three laps to heed a black flag, also mentioned NASCAR’s ability to just not score the lap or add a time penalty in post-race.

“That’s been there all along,” he said. “…You know, the rule that — the unwritten rule that you get three laps from getting a black flag, it really doesn’t hold water. I mean, we only give them that, and that started back in the day when people a lot of times didn’t even have radios. So that’s just kind of — it’s the unwritten rule.

“But we expect teams that get the black flag to immediately obey the order from the tower, and we do have the ability to fix the scoring when it’s over with.”

NATIONWIDE PRESEASON THUNDER – SUNDAY AFTERNOON TIMES

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”