Loudon II: Petty Enterprises race report

Johnson and Edwards are now tied atop the standings. Biffle, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Jeff Burton round out the top-five. Kyle Busch, who entered the 'Chase' with a 30 point lead, saw it evaporate in one race. He is now eighth in ...

Johnson and Edwards are now tied atop the standings. Biffle, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Jeff Burton round out the top-five. Kyle Busch, who entered the 'Chase' with a 30 point lead, saw it evaporate in one race. He is now eighth in points.

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 13th on Sunday. The team had a great day of practice on Saturday, placing in the top-five fastest cars during each session, and were quietly picked by many in the garage area to contend of the win. Qualifying was rained out on Friday, however, and Labonte was forced to start the race from the 21st position based on the team's standing in owner's points. At the start of the event, Labonte had to deal with a chassis that was 'tight' in the middle of the corners and 'loose' coming off, which is typical characteristic of racing at New Hampshire. Crew chief Jeff Meendering made several air pressure and wedge adjustments to the No. 43 Dodge and Labonte's lap times began to improve. The first half of the race featured two long green flag runs. This allowed Meendering to develop a pit strategy that would give Labonte a chance to capitalize on a solid finish. However, the last 100 laps would be caution-filled and the team was not able to take advantage of the two-tire stops and fuel strategy called for by Meendering.

"We were just too tight all day. We freed our Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge up, but it also made the car come out of the race track and I just couldn't gain any more positions. Once I fell back to 13th, it became a real hard fought battle and it's just really tough to pass that many cars in front of you. Jeff did a great job calling the race and the pit crew did an awesome job on the stops today. We just couldn't gain enough track position."

Chad McCumbee and the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team finished 41st in the race. McCumbee was making his first career Sprint Cup start at New Hampshire. Like his teammate, McCumbee was 'tight' at the start of the race. The track conditions on Sunday were much cooler than they had been all weekend and this contributed to the 'tight' condition. McCumbee lost a lap early, but was able to get it back via a 'Lucky Dog' award during a lap 82 caution period. By lap 199, crew chief Stewart Cooper made the necessary adjustments to the No. 45 chassis and McCumbee was able to set his sights on a solid finish. However, he was hit from behind by another competitor on lap 229 and hit the outside wall. The damage was severe enough to end his day early.

"I just feel like someone got into us. It was unfortunate. I was riding around minding my own business. I feel like we were going to have a top-25 or top-30 -- that would have been awesome for the team, points-wise. I'm pretty frustrated, but I understand it's racing. I haven't seen the replay, but I know that someone got into me. They were way down on the apron and I'm sure that they just slid up into us. I've got to thank all the guys on the Marathon American Spirit Motor Dodge team. We were going to have a good day."

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for this weekend's Camping World RV 400 presented by AAA. Friday's qualifying session will be telecast on ESPN2. It will be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius Channel 128.

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Chad McCumbee , Kyle Busch