Labonte - Ford interview 2009-04-28

This Week in Ford Racing Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 96 Ask.com Ford Fusion, has one race under his belt with new crew chief Ben Leslie. Labonte, who was involved in an accident with nine laps to go at Talladega, recently spoke about the...

This Week in Ford Racing

Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 96 Ask.com Ford Fusion, has one race under his belt with new crew chief Ben Leslie. Labonte, who was involved in an accident with nine laps to go at Talladega, recently spoke about the change and how it may benefit the team.

IT'S BEEN A SHORT TIME, BUT HOW HAVE THINGS GONE WITH BEN? "Obviously, we hadn't been performing like we wanted to the past few weeks, and a lot of times the changes that are made can and will be good. Actually, I think with Todd and the position they put him in to kind of observe and watch some other things, it's so hard for him to see what's kind of going on around you because you're right in the middle of the forest. I think Ben is gonna do a great job. I'm looking forward to it and I think Todd is gonna do a great job in his role, so I'm looking forward to that helping the whole program out."

DO YOU GET ANY BENEFIT FROM BEN HAVING BEEN WITH TRAVIS? "I think it's gonna be a plus for us no matter what because he's been at that organization for a long period of time but with Ford for a real long period of time. He knows the way that things are run and done, so I feel good about that. Just because he didn't participate as a crew chief at Phoenix or Martinsville or Texas, he was still there and observing and looking and watching, so I don't see that as being any problem. I just feel really good about having him come on board and making sure that we get the ship directed in the right direction and he's gonna be a good one to do that."

WERE YOU INVOLVED IN THE DECISION? "I knew something was gonna happen. We had talked about it very briefly, but I didn't really need to be involved to know when it was gonna happen, so it didn't really matter because you assumed that was gonna happen."

DID YOU MAKE ANY SUGGESTIONS? "I try not to make too many suggestions."

WHY HASN'T YOUR PERFORMANCE BEEN HOW YOU WANTED? ANYTHING YOU CAN PINPOINT? "Not really. I'd like to say that there is, but we started off pretty good, but yet at the same time we knew that we could be better than that. Even when we ran good at Vegas we knew we could be better than that. And then as a group we didn't perform as good a couple of times and we kind of got ourselves in a little trouble at Texas that really wasn't the fault of anybody. It just happened that way and it led to a bad day, and then at Phoenix we needed to abort at some point in time and try something maybe a little different, but we didn't get to. I told the guys at the team meeting in Phoenix that we were only a half-an-inch away from winning Vegas. We're still the same half-inch away, we're just on the other side of it. It's so competitive that we just had to try to shake it up a little bit to get it better. I agree with what Max and everybody did because it's all about what we've got to do to make it better for the team."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte