Birmingham: Doran Labonte Racing race report

Labonte and Moreno Finish 14th in DP Class in Doran Labonte Racing's Daytona USA Pontiac No. 44 at Barber Motorsports Park BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 31 - A freak problem caused problems for Bobby Labonte and Roberto Moreno during Sunday's Porsche...

Labonte and Moreno Finish 14th in DP Class in Doran Labonte Racing's Daytona USA Pontiac No. 44 at Barber Motorsports Park

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 31 - A freak problem caused problems for Bobby Labonte and Roberto Moreno during Sunday's Porsche 250 Rolex series race at Barber Motorsports Park, but they still finished the two-hour-and-45-minute race in the Doran Labonte Racing Daytona USA DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 44 and they both had fun.

They ended up 14th in the Daytona Prototype class and 17th overall after Labonte started 16th in the 46-car field.

The race was covered live on SPEED.

The entry compete in the series on a limited basis, doing only selected events. Labonte, of course, is a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star, and open-wheel veteran Moreno was substituting for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Terry Labonte, Bobby's brother. The latter couldn't compete in this particular race because of a schedule conflict, but both Labonte brothers are entered in the next Rolex series race at Watkins Glen, N.Y. in 12 days, with the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard sandwiched in between. The race at Watkins Glen supports another NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event.

The freak problem involved the car's cool box, which somehow hit the master switch and caused problems for both drivers. Despite the obvious electrical/engine issues, Labonte lost some time restarting the car after a little spin in turn nine on lap 12 because he had to unbuckle and rebuckle his safety harness to reach the switch.

He drove until lap 45, when he pitted under a full-course caution to let Moreno take over. Moreno had an incident with Butch Leitzinger in the Howard-Boss No. 4 a few laps from the end, but luckily both cars were able to continue.

Driver quotes follow:

Bobby Labonte: "I had fun, but I would have had more fun if we'd finished better."

"The cool box hit the master switch early in the race. I had to take the belts off to reach the switch, and I didn't want to do that at speed. Can you blame me? I spun and it took me awhile to get going again because I had to unbuckle and buckle the belts back up."

"It didn't happen to me again, but it happened to Roberto [Moreno] too."

"We would have been OK without that problem. I wasn't even going to lose a position with the spin."

"The car was understeering, but it was OK. The tires and brakes were good."

"It was fun!"

Roberto Moreno: "I was quite impressed with both the car and the team. It's a very professional team and it's a very good car. For the time that Bobby [Labonte] and I had in the car here, it showed the potential of the team."

"The cooler was bouncing and it hit the master switch and turned it off. The car was running with just the alternator and without the battery. On low revs it wouldn't charge the battery, and the engine would cut out. Most of the time we were running with the master switch off, which doesn't hurt you until you slow down. I don't know why the cooler was bouncing; I think something happened to it and it just broke."

"Bobby spun and it took him a long time to restart because of that problem."

"Other than that the car was quite good. Our car really was quite competitive."

"I had a problem in the esses near the end with one competitor. He didn't make the move completely and we touched."

"I needed this experience in the car. Now that I know the car, the next time I can use it to its full potential."

-dr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Butch Leitzinger , Roberto Moreno