Watkins stripped of win for illegal fuel
The Fast United Engine Late Model Series stripped series title contender Ben Watkins of his June 29 victory at Carolina Speedway near Gastonia, N.C., after a lab analysis revealed the apparent winner used fuel that didn’t meet series specs, officials announced late Friday night.
Apparent runner-up Robbie Emory of Milton, Del., was elevated to his first career FUEL victory while Watkins lost what would’ve been his third series victory of the season. The series is in the process of correcting the race’s official finish.
Watkins, in a statement provided by the series, said his team was “very disappointed with the final decision and we assure our fans and team that we did not intentionally break the rules pertaining to fuel. We pride ourselves in operating within the sanctioning body's rules and ran a VP product that was represented as a legal product.
“We would never jeopardize our championship hopes by adding an illegal additive to our fuel. We are in contact with VP Fuels to figure out what the issue is with the said product. I will add more as we continue to work with VP to figure out what caused the sitiation and hopefully keep anything like this from ever happening again.”
Watkins will lose his four-point lead over Emory in the series title chase; series points haven't been updated to reflect new June 29 results.
Editor's note: Updates with how disqualification affects series points.