Labonte - Ford interview 2009-06-23

This Week in Ford Racing: The last time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a Ford ended up in Victory Lane as Greg Biffle started the 10- race Chase with his second win of the season. Ford driver Bobby ...

This Week in Ford Racing:

The last time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a Ford ended up in Victory Lane as Greg Biffle started the 10- race Chase with his second win of the season. Ford driver Bobby Labonte talked about the flat one-mile oval and his hopes for Sunday's race.

BOBBY LABONTE - No. 96 Ask.com Ford Fusion

LOUDON IS LIKE PHOENIX IN THAT IT'S A FLAT ONE-MILE TRACK. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? "I've liked Loudon in the past and always felt like I've run well there, but we struggled so bad at Phoenix that I'm a little nervous about going there, to be honest with you. But I think we've got some things that we can take from Phoenix and throw away and not go there with, so I think we do have some of that figured out. I didn't fight as much with this car as I did the old car sometimes, so I kind of adapted to this car better there than I did at other places. It's a neat track to race on, it's just a hard track to pass on."

THEY DID SOME GRINDING ON THAT TRACK A FEW YEARS AGO. HAS THAT HELPED? "A little bit. They're trying. It was probably better years ago and the faster we go the worse it gets with a flatter track, but they'll have double-file restarts so that will fix everything."

HOW ARE THINGS PROGRESSING WITH BEN AS CREW CHIEF? "We've taken a step forward, but we're still looking for more steps forward. There are things I feel like I need to have in a race car to go faster. I don't want to go slower, I want to go faster. Finding that balance and that trend is difficult to do with this car, but, at the same time, it's a team effort and we all have to work together at it. I have to give and everybody else has to give, too. The bottom line is I'm responsible for what I'm driving on Sunday, but there are times I feel like we can make it better, too. I might not be the fastest guy on the block, but I haven't lost confidence in what I do know and sometimes trying to get that balance and getting that across -- because you know what you want, you know what you need to feel -- and trying to get that to the point where it makes sense for everybody. We're getting there one step at a time, but it's not like it's going to happen overnight and everybody has to keep working in the right direction in the thought process of we're out here to win races and we're not out here to just ride around."

IS YOUR SITUATION A BY PRODUCT OF NO TESTING THIS YEAR? "You look in the garage area with how you're parked and it's basically how you run every week. I know that's pretty stupid to say it because that's the way the points are, but, in reality, it just kind of lands that way and the guys that are up front - Tony Stewart is probably an exception, but they've got a lot of good people there - but the guys up there have been together a long time. So whether it's the new car or old car, this year or last year, it's still an example of the team building and the characteristics and personalities of everybody there to make it better and not try to tear anything down. Those guys make changes, but they're strong enough to make them in the right direction. Team is really important to keep yourself going in the right direction week-in and week-out, to make small steps better than trying to go one step forward and two steps back."

YOU AND PAUL MENARD SEEM TO HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP AS TEAMMATES. IS THIS STILL JUST A GROWING PROCESS WITH THESE TWO TEAMS? "Relatively, it is. That's the way I look at it. It's still a new process. They've made some changes from last year to this year. Paul is new over there and Larry is new over there, so there are a lot of new things. It's no different than anybody else out there. You wonder what other people are going to be doing and then all of a sudden when they hit their stride they hit their stride, and when we hit our stride we will, but you still try to find that balance at all times and make sure you don't do the wrong things. I feel like we're still in a building mode to a certain extent as far as trying to get everything going in that forward direction better than what it is."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle