Michigan II: Bobby Labonte qualifying report

The weather around the Brooklyn, Mich. track was of the chamber of commerce quality as temperatures topped out in the high 70's. The already mild temperatures cooled even more as the session waned into the final handful of cars. This played a ...

The weather around the Brooklyn, Mich. track was of the chamber of commerce quality as temperatures topped out in the high 70's. The already mild temperatures cooled even more as the session waned into the final handful of cars. This played a large role in determining who would lead the field of 43 cars to the green flag on Sunday.

Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team will roll off from the 4th position. It's the team's best qualifying effort since starting third for the race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in June. New crew chief Doug Randolph has made a seamless transition over to the team as Labonte could be found at the top of the charts all afternoon. With a little more tweaking during tomorrow's two practice sessions, the three-time Michigan winner will be poised for his best finish of the season.

"First I want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with Paul Andrews for a speedy recovery. He is still a part of this family and we are all pulling for him to get back to his old form," Labonte said of his former crew chief.

"As for the car, I could not be happier," continued Labonte. "When we come to Michigan everyone talks about how you can run so many different lines, depending on where you car is working the best. That's true, but you still want your car to have a nice balance. The #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge has that. Now we are going to work on getting it to stay that way on long runs because you have those here at Michigan."

"Doug has brought some fresh ideas to the team and the guys have responded well to him. He is a guy with a lot of experience. He has meshed all of those experiences together to become a very well-rounded crew chief."

Chad McCumbee and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil team will start 42nd in Sunday's event. McCumbee is substituting for Kyle Petty this weekend as Petty recovers from a broken hand suffered last Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y) International. The team struggled to make a fast lap, but feel that the car will be much improved when it is converted over to the race setup.

"The car kept going back and forth from loose to tight all day," sounded McCumbee. "It one way it is encouraging because the chassis is very responsive to changes. Some chassis are stubborn. They don't care what you do to them, but that is not the case with this one. We just need to forget about today and zero in on what the car needs tomorrow. I've always considered myself a better racer than qualifier."

-credit: petty racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Chad McCumbee