Homestead: Petty Enterprises race report

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 33rd in Sunday's race. Labonte, who has competed in every Sprint Cup race held at Homestead, began the race from the 35th position. At the start of the race, Labonte...

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 33rd in Sunday's race. Labonte, who has competed in every Sprint Cup race held at Homestead, began the race from the 35th position. At the start of the race, Labonte radioed to crew chief Jeff Meendering that his car was 'tight' from the center of the corner off. Air pressure adjustments helped the car turn, but as the race wore on the handling condition moved over to the 'loose' side. Inconsistency would be the theme of the night for Labonte.

"We could not find any consistency with the chassis today," said Labonte. "One run would be 'loose' and the next would be 'tight.' The car just wasn't in the track. We were hoping for a better finish heading into the winter, but I'm proud of how hard everyone worked today. My pit crew has been solid all year and they were again today. Now we'll start getting ready for Daytona because that will be here before we know it."

"Congratulations to Jimmie and the No. 48 team on their third straight championship," continued Labonte. "I was lucky enough to win a championship and I know how hard it is to repeat. They are on top of their game right now."

Chad McCumbee and the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team finished 39th at Homestead. McCumbee fell behind one lap early in the race as he had to pit early to remove debris off the nose of his Dodge Charger as it was starting to overheat. When he returned to the racetrack, McCumbee radioed to crew chief Stewart Cooper that his car was 'tight' at both ends of the track. After a round of adjustments the car was 'loose' getting into and off of the corners. Much like his teammate, McCumbee had to deal with an inconsistent chassis for the rest of the race.

"I'm still learning these cars. They definitely react to adjustments differently than the trucks," said McCumbee. "We made a one pound air pressure adjustment to fix the 'tight' and that made it just super 'loose' and it never really came back. I can't figure that out because that's not a big adjustment. But I've had a lot of fun with these guys this year. I have to thank everyone at Petty Enterprises for giving me this opportunity."

-credit: pe

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Series NASCAR-CUP