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NASCAR: Corey LaJoie to miss Michigan race due to COVID-19 protocols

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Corey LaJoie won't be racing at Michigan on Sunday.

Spire Motorsports announced Thursday that LaJoie wouldn't drive the No. 7 car in Sunday's Cup Series race (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) because of COVID-19 protocols. LaJoie will be replaced in the car by Josh Berry. 

We'll let you figure out what LaJoie's tweet about his absence means. 

NASCAR does not regularly test drivers or team members for COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines have not been mandated by the sanctioning body. Unlike many other major sports leagues, drivers in NASCAR are not part of a union. The lack of a union would make the implementation of a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy relatively straightforward. 

LaJoie, 29, is 29th in the Cup Series standings. He has one top-10 finish this season and four in his career. 

He's the second Cup Series driver to miss a race this season because of COVID-19 protocols. Coincidentally, his part-time Spire teammate Justin Haley was the first. Haley missed both the Xfinity Series and Cup Series races at Dover in May. He was replaced by Berry at Dover too. 

Berry has been driving part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. He signed a deal earlier this week to drive full-time for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team in 2022. 

NASCAR recently tightened at-track COVID-19 protocols in the wake of the current COVID-19 surge across the country. The sanctioning body has never regularly tested its participants since it resumed racing over the summer of 2020 after two-month hiatus because of the virus. Both Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon missed a race in 2020 due to COVID-19. 

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