“It is good to be back”
Bobby Labonte returns to the No. 47 SCOTT® Products Toyota Camry at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500 Saturday night.
The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion's best finish of the season is 15th, which occurred at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Charlotte: “From the first time I went to Charlotte, I loved it and that was in a NASCAR Nationwide Series car,” Labonte said. “That played over into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It is just a good place for me to go to. I was really competitive in the new body style from a few years ago, but haven’t been as quite in the Gen-6. However, Charlotte is a place where you can be successful. I have great ambition to do well this weekend in the No. 47 SCOTT® Products Toyota.”
Takes time to heal broken ribs: “It does take time to heal,” Labonte said. “But, honestly I have been mountain biking and road biking. Basically, I have been doing a bunch of things trying to stay busy to get ready for the weekend. Everything has been good. Time has taken care of it. I have moments where I’m like ‘Oh that hurts’, but it’s only for a second. I mean I wouldn’t go 12 rounds with anybody right now, but it will get better.”
Picking up where he left off: “It is good to be back,” Labonte said. “I know that there were some things that the team learned when they tested at Atlanta Motor Speedway that will help us at Charlotte. There are some good things they have been doing to get the right pieces together. I feel good about that and every week the team takes the lessons they have learned to improve.”
Time away from the track: “I’ve been doing a lot of different things,” Labonte said. “We had a family outing where Tyler goes to college at Appalachian State a couple weeks ago. It was a nice family weekend for a home football game and along with all kinds of activities. We had a lot of fun. Now, it’s time to get back to business as usual and get ready to race the No. 47 SCOTT® Products Toyota.”
Glad to have Bobby back: “It’s good to have Bobby back behind the wheel of the No. 47 SCOTT® Products Toyota,” crew chief Brian Burns said. “He’s in great shape considering what happened to him in a cycling incident. He’s up to par and we are equally excited to have him back as he is to get back behind the wheel.”
Chassis 704: “We raced this car at Chicagoland Speedway where we qualified 13th and finished 21st with AJ Allmendinger,” Burns said. “Before that, AJ had it at Kentucky Speedway. We qualified 17th and finished 22nd. It’s a pretty good car for us to bring to Charlotte Motor Speedway with Bobby.”
Track similarities: “We feel like Charlotte Motor Speedway is very similar to Atlanta Motor Speedway, where we learned a lot that we can apply going into this weekend with Bobby behind the wheel,” Burns said. “We are going into Charlotte with the same goal in mind hoping for a strong weekend. Bobby has proved to be very successful at Charlotte and has a couple of wins along with a few poles.”
Charlotte prep: “We did some testing at the TRD facility on the shaker rig with this track in mind,” Burns said. “With what we learned there and at Atlanta, we’re hoping to have a strong finish with Bobby.”
Good to be home: “It is nice to be able to enjoy a weekend at home and not have to board a plane and leave town,” Burns said. “It is good for our crew members to have some time at home. It is a little more relaxing than a typical race weekend where you have to fly out to another city. Also, your friends and family have the opportunity to come out and watch the race.”
JTG Daugherty Racing