Fontana: Bobby Labonte preview

* Bobby Labonte and the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet team brought home the highest finish by a single-car team in the 2010 Daytona 500 and look to build on that momentum heading into NASCAR's West Coast debut. * NASCAR's return...

* Bobby Labonte and the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet team brought home the highest finish by a single-car team in the 2010 Daytona 500 and look to build on that momentum heading into NASCAR's West Coast debut.

* NASCAR's return to the West Coast will also be a return home for team owner Kevin Buckler. Buckler grew up in Southern California and discovered his love of speed and racing at an early age. That passion has flourished into successful Grand Am and NASCAR programs.

* The Auto Club 500 will mark Labonte's 19th start at Auto Club Speedway where he's scored four top-5's and five top-10's.

* This No. 71 Chevrolet Impala SS, chassis number 286, will be making its on-track debut with TRG Motorsports

Behind the Wheel with Bobby Labonte

"California really is a wide track. It's similar to Michigan and I'm a big fan of Michigan. California is flatter so you have to race and drive it a bit differently, but it's a pretty unique track, so I like it. Man, you just have to handle there at the track. Handling is a big, big deal there. It's just so wide that you need to be able to keep momentum and speed up in the turns. If you're not handling well, it's pretty tough."

"In comparison to other intermediate tracks, it's a longer, wider track. It's fast and has a long backstretch and you can draft off guys in the back. The drafting is not like Daytona or Talladega, but there will definitely be some going on. You need a nice, solid car. This track is just bigger, the banking isn't as steep and it's a lot about momentum and hitting your marks. It's a tough track, more difficult than most.

"It's nice to go visit the West Coast and stay out there for a few days, and I know it will be nice for Kevin to be near his home town. The only thing is, if you have a bad day, it's a long way back home. But, we feel good about going out there and having a good car all weekend."

From the Box -- Doug Randolph

"When we visit Auto Club Speedway, we know that power and handling are going to be the two biggest factors. Since this is a two-mile track, you have to have a lot of horsepower. Now that the track has aged a bit, it has gotten really rough in turns 1 and 2, so you need a car that will handle the bumps well. At least 50-percent of the races there come down to fuel mileage, so you've got to make sure you're getting it packed with fuel on every pit stop and your calculations are correct. Historically, the tires have fallen off quickly, so we'll see how the new tire that Goodyear provides will perform for us this week."

From the Owner -- Kevin Buckler

"Being a native of Southern California, I can't wait to get back to race on the West Coast. This is where I discovered my love for speed and racing, and it's a passion that stayed with me throughout my entire adult life. I've got a lot of great memories there, our sister company, TRG, has had great success with two big wins on the Grand Am side, but I'm looking forward to creating some new ones with what I hope to be a strong run for the No. 71. We had a good finish in the Daytona 500 as the top independent team, so we're definitely going to be building on that. We're happy to have TaxSlayer.com on board with us this weekend as we continue to work to secure a couple of more great sponsors to round out our partnership roster."

-source: trgm

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