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Penalty makes Rockingham finale far more than a formality

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012

A late-season penalty has shaken up the title race in the K&N Pro Series East entering the finale weekend of racing.

Coming off his fifth win of the season last weekend in Greenville, S.C., Corey LaJoie appeared ready to clinch the series championship. But on Tuesday, NASCAR penalized LaJoie's team for rule violations and stripped the driver of 25 points. His crew chief, Ron Otto, was fined $5,000 and suspended until the fine is paid.

The points loss – for modifications to the carburetor, officials said – dropped LaJoie from first to third in the standings.

LaJoie's six-point lead over second-place Kyle Larson is gone with the penalty and Larson now holds the top spot entering Saturday's race at Rockingham. Larson has a 10-point edge on Brett Moffitt and LaJoie is down by 19 points.

LaJoie has filed an appeal, so he could – in theory – reclaim the points lead by Saturday, but only if the penalty is overturned.

This weekend’s Classic 3 Championship at Rockingham also includes season finales for the UARA-STARS and Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals.

For more information, go to RockinghamSpeedway.com or call (910) 205-8800.

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