Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 14th on Sunday. The finish is the second consecutive top-15 finish for the team as they looked determined to end the season on a strong note. Labonte began the race from...
Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 14th on Sunday.
The finish is the second consecutive top-15 finish for the team as they looked determined to end the season on a strong note. Labonte began the race from the 42nd position, but he began to lay down some fast lap times early by moving to the top groove of the one-mile oval. When a caution flag flew on lap 64, Labonte found himself in the 29th position. From there the handling began to go away on the No. 43 Dodge and Labonte lost a lap to the leaders. He was able to gain that back, via a 'Lucky Dog' award on lap 156. Thanks to great work by the No. 43 pit crew, Labonte was able to drive inside the top-20 by lap 185. A long green flag run saw Labonte lose another lap to the leaders, but some great adjustments by crew chief Jeff Meendering allowed him to remain the first car one lap down and in position for another 'Lucky Dog' award. This came on lap 291. From that point on, Labonte had one of the fastest cars on the track. He had two of his best runs of the day inside the final 100 laps, when it mattered most. In typical fashion, Labonte has the second-most green flag passes with 62.
"We just couldn't seem to get our Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge to turn good in the center of the corners -- especially the grip in the back of the car. I fought it all day. Fortunately, we had a couple Lucky Dogs that put us on the lead lap again and we were able to get the car good enough to bring home a top-15 finish. I'm proud of my guys. Jeff (Meendering, crew chief) did a good job on top of the pit box all day trying to get our car better and better. We're not satisfied with 14th, but it could have been a lot worse."
Kyle Petty and the No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge team came home 40th at Dover on Sunday. At the drop of the green flag, Petty had to deal with a 'loose' race car. Crew chief Stewart Cooper made some early track bar and wedge adjustments to get Petty comfortable. During the middle portions of the race, Petty radioed to Cooper that the adjustments had made the car more stable. However, on lap 276, Petty radioed that the car was too 'loose' to drive. The crew went to work in the garage to diagnose the problem, but lost many laps in the process. This relegated Petty to his finish of 40th.
"The car was really loose all day. It was a complete opposite of how it drove on Saturday and we didn't make any changes," said Petty. "We're not sure what happened. Stewart and the guys did a good job because it was decent there in the middle of the race, but it didn't last very long. We'll take it back to the shop and try to find out if something failed."