Atlanta II: Bobby Labonte race report

Labonte 18th at Atlanta in TaxSlayer.com 71 Atlanta, Georgia, (September 7, 2009) - Bobby Labonte finished 18th tonight in the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS. The six time winner showed his mastery of Atlanta Motor ...

Labonte 18th at Atlanta in TaxSlayer.com 71

Atlanta, Georgia, (September 7, 2009) - Bobby Labonte finished 18th tonight in the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS. The six time winner showed his mastery of Atlanta Motor Speedway in tonight's running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500.

Labonte was quick to race forward from his 25th qualifying position. The Texan had the No. 71 Chevy battling in the top 20 for most of the night. About half-way through, on the strength of some strong pit work, Labonte was running 10th. Looking for the team's first top ten in the Sprint Cup Series the handling of the car began to go away. Labonte and crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe were communicating all night and adjusting on the TaxSlayer.com No. 71, but had to settle for 18th place on the night.

"We ran the best we did all night at the beginning and after the second pit stop," Labonte said. "We adjusted on the car all night. I am not sure what it was. We just couldn't get it right tonight. I couldn't get it any faster for a short run and couldn't get it tight enough on entry and exit for a long run. I could get it tight in the center, but that would ruin our entry and exit."

Labonte is happy with the team communication in his first outing with TRG Motorsports.

"Slugger was giving me a lot of information, probably more than I have heard in a long time. Everything we tried during the race seemed like the right adjustments to make, but the car was not totally into the track. On the third set of tires we were really off and we adjusted on it again and I think it was just a bad set of tires. I am encouraged about this first outing with these guys and I am looking forward to the next one."

Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, knows his team is ready for a break-thru performance.

"It was a really good night," Buckler said. "Bobby has taken right to our little team. We gave him a good car and he was able to move forward and run in the top ten. He and Slugger were right on with the communication. The guys in the pits did an awesome job, we were as strong as anyone. As usual Mike's (Mike Brown, general manager and spotter) spotting was perfect and we were able to make-up track position and help keep Bobby motivated. We didn't quite have the setup to stay in the top ten, but it sure was nice to see the TaxSlayer.com Chevy up there tonight. We're moving forward and that's the name of the game right now."

The team will travel to Richmond International Raceway for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 to be run on Saturday, September 12.

-credit: trgm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kevin Buckler , Mike Brown
Teams TRG Motorsports