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Nasr to Miss Daytona after Testing Positive for COVID-19

Felipe Nasr tests positive for coronavirus; Gabby Chaves to drive AXR Cadillac at Daytona…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Action Express Racing has confirmed that its driver Felipe Nasr will miss this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech 240 at Daytona after testing positive for COVID-19.

The 2018 IMSA prototype champion was due to drive the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. with Pipo Derani, but will now head back to his residence in Miami to quarantine following the test result.

Former IndyCar racer Gabby Chaves has been drafted in to replace Nasr at Daytona.

Chaves is familiar to the Action Express squad having driven one of its Cadillac DPi cars in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans in 2018.

“All of us at Action Express were stunned when we heard that our friend and teammate, Felipe Nasr, has tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday,” said team manager Gary Nelson.

“We are certainly going to miss having him competing in our Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R on Saturday at Daytona.

“But, more importantly, he is a great friend to us all and we know he will fight hard to beat this virus the same way he fights for trophies on the racetracks. We wish him a speedy recovery.

“Felipe has not been to the track and will avoid any contact with the public until he has been cleared by his medical team.

“We made the quick decision to bring in Gabby Chaves who is familiar with our team to partner with Pipo Derani this weekend. We will get Felipe ready to hopefully join us again at Sebring in 15 days.”

Nasr explained that he got tested for COVID-19 after feeling unwell on the drive to Daytona for the first IMSA round since the Rolex 24 at the same track in January.

Both Nasr and Derani were based in Miami throughout June following their movements to the United States to beat the country’s travel ban on arrivals from Brazil, while Derani said last week that the pair trained together during their spell in Florida.

It’s unclear if Derani has been tested for the virus.

“I’ve been waiting so long for this weekend to get back to racing,” said Nasr, who with Derani finished second to Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya in the 2019 championship.

“I felt I had been doing everything correctly. I have been in Miami for about a month, staying away from anyone in racing.

“Yesterday as I was driving to Daytona, I wasn’t feeling just right. So, before I went to the track or met with my team or anyone in motorsports, I went and got tested and, unfortunately, I tested positive.

“I want to keep everyone on the Whelen Engineering/Action Express team and those around the series safe.

“I am going back to Miami to quarantine. Hopefully, I will recover quickly, and my doctors can clear me to return to racing soon.

“For now, I will follow all instructions, guidelines and recommendations from my medical team, my race team, and the IMSA Officials.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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