Long Way to Go and a Short Time to Get To Phoenix for No. 47 Kingsford Charcoal Toyota Team

Bobby Labonte, JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota
Bobby Labonte, JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

AVONDALE, Ariz. (February 28, 2012) - - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams hustled back to North Carolina to turn around the transporters for Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) following a rain-delayed Daytona 500. Today, JTG Daugherty Racing unloaded the Daytona 500 primary and backup cars to load Bobby Labonte’s No. 47 Kingsford Toyotas and put transport driver Dale Lackey and his co-pilot David Ott on the road again.

“While in Daytona, there were still several employees back at the shop getting the primary Phoenix car ready,” Labonte said. “The Kingsford Toyota Camry was fairly close to being done last week (before Daytona). The spare is already done. It’s basically waiting for the transporter to get back and make a changeover. Every team has to do the changeover with their race cars.

“There might be a few things that we’ll have to do,” continued Labonte. “But, I would say that Todd Berrier (crew chief) probably already has that handled. It’s going to make a tough trip for the truck drivers more than anything else. They left Daytona straight for the shops to make a swap. How many hours will that take? You have to make sure that you’re planned well enough that your truck drivers can get to Phoenix in the required time. It’s a long ways, but we should be alright.”

No. 47 Kingsford Toyota Camry transport driver Lackey is the right man for the job and will ensure the hauler is in Phoenix on time to park at PIR.

“It’s eight and a half hours to our Harrisburg shop,” said Lackey. “We’ll take the two speedway Kroger cars off the hauler and the rest of the speedway stuff like gears, motors, transmissions and restock with everything for Phoenix. Also, we have to refill gear oil buckets, restock all chemicals, restock drinks in the cooler, etc. I’ll take the firesuits to the dry cleaners too and pick them up Tuesday evening before we leave and place them back on the hauler. It will take at least four to five hours to turn everything around.”

Lackey knows it’s a long way to go and he has a short time to get there.

“It’s about 34 hours to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) to transport the No. 47 Kingsford Toyotas,” Lackey continued. “I’ll drive 10 or 11 hours and my co-driver David Ott will drive the next 10 or 11 hours and then we will switch off again. We’ll stop and get fuel, but we will pretty much drive straight through as hard as we can staying within the speed limits. Hopefully, we will not have any issues along our journey. We have to be out of the shop no later than 7 p.m. ET tonight to make it to PIR by 5 or 6 a.m. local time to park on Thursday. Also, we have to wash the truck before we park.”

Weather is usually a non-issue in Phoenix. It is the right place to kick off Kingsford’s sponsorship of the No. 47 Toyota Camry for select races and also remind fans it is time to get out and grill their favorite meats and vegetables on Kingsford Charcoal.

“It’s time to pull out the grills again because ‘Racing Season is Grilling Season,” Labonte said. “I always enjoy grilling chicken on Kingsford Charcoal. Grilling out is a great way to bring family and friends together. I’m also looking forward to Daylight Savings coming up and getting that extra hour of daylight to grill out too. Fans can go to Grilling.com for grilling tips, tricks and recipes for an awesome grilling experience with Kingsford Charcoal. Check it out!”

Labonte has three top-five, nine top-10 finishes and a pole award at PIR. His best finish is third-place (11/7/99). Last season, he finished 21st twice. During the second visit, drivers faced an unknown with a new track surface and altered layout.

“With the new pavement last year, everybody was skeptical of what it was going to be like,” Labonte said. “It was way better than I thought it was going to be. I think the racing was better. I hope it comes in quicker. It was a lot closer than it was in the past and you could pass better than I thought you could.”