Labonte to Start TaxSlayer.com Chevy from 12th Row in Atlanta Hampton, Georgia, (Sept. 4, 2010) - Bobby Labonte qualified the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS in 24th place for tomorrow evening's running of the NASCAR ...
Labonte to Start TaxSlayer.com Chevy from 12th Row in Atlanta
Hampton, Georgia, (Sept. 4, 2010) - Bobby Labonte qualified the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS in 24th place for tomorrow evening's running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Bobby Labonte With track temperatures some 15-degrees hotter than they were in practice, Labonte qualified the TaxSlayer.com Chevy on the 12th row with a time of 30.037 and an average speed of 185 mph. The Texan dropped nearly seven-tenths off of his fastest practice time in qualifying. What was good might have been better as the team drew fifth place in the qualifying order out of 46 cars, and ran in what was the heat of the day.
"In practice we were way too tight," Labonte said. "Dan (Stillman, crew chief) and the guys put a tight set-up on the car off of the trailer, because the last two times I drove the 71 it was way loose. I talked to him on Wednesday and we decided to come tight. We tried to free it up throughout the first practice on the same set of tires, and then we put on a second set and made a five lap run and got it better. It took us all day to get there. I appreciate the big effort from the TRG guys. We struggled the last two races with the car early, so I hope we have gotten over that aspect."
The team went early in the qualifying session, but Labonte showed his best speed of the day when it counted.
"We picked up some speed in qualifying, but it looks like everyone else did as well. Going early in qualifying was a bit of a disadvantage. The track cooled a little for the guys who went out at 5:30 p.m. as opposed to when we went out at 4:40 p.m."
The team will take into account the 7:30 p.m. start for tomorrow evening's race which is sure to bring cooler air and track temperatures.
"Racing at night means we have to build some adjustability into the car. We need to free it up a lot from where we are at right now. I was having trouble turning in mid-corner. We need to make it handle better from the center of the corner off and if we go too far, be able to tighten it up a little during the race tomorrow night."
Labonte, the 2000 Sprint Cup Series Champion, has a very strong record at Atlanta. With six wins (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2003) the track located just 20-miles south of Atlanta is his most successful on the schedule.
Team principal, Kevin Buckler, likes the team work so far this weekend.
"We made a lot of changes to the car from the set-up that we unloaded with this morning," Buckler said. "The guys were really hustling in practice and we hit on it during the last session with Bobby posting a strong time. We made it even better for qualifying and we are looking for another improvement for the race. The Georgia Bull Dogs won today, which is the start of a very good weekend. We are looking for a strong performance for our sponsor, Augusta based, TaxSlayer.com tomorrow night."
-source: trg motorsports