LABONTE FINISHES 29th IN SUBWAY FRESH FIT 500 AVONDALE, ARIZ. (April 18, 2009) -- Bobby Labonte and the No. 96 Ask.com team climbed 11 positions yesterday to finish the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in 29th position. The effort marked the team's first...
LABONTE FINISHES 29th IN SUBWAY FRESH FIT 500
AVONDALE, ARIZ. (April 18, 2009) -- Bobby Labonte and the No. 96 Ask.com team climbed 11 positions yesterday to finish the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in 29th position. The effort marked the team's first start of the season at the home track for Hall of Fame Racing owners, Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel.
Labonte took the green flag at 5:45 p.m. amongst a crowd of approximately 80,000 fans. A tough qualifying run on Friday left the Ask.com team in 42nd starting position and Labonte immediately began to fight for track position.
By lap 44 Labonte had gained eight positions on the field but radioed to crew chief Todd Parrott that the car was loose. The first of six cautions for the day at lap 54 allowed the Ask.com team to make adjustments to the car and he rejoined the field 30th after an impressive pit stop by the No. 96 crew members.
The second caution of the day at lap 101 brought the top-30 cars down pit road but Labonte remained on the track and led lap 104 in an effort to gain bonus points. Four additional cautions gave Parrott the opportunity to increase the car's handling as Labonte continued to race for track position.
As the Subway Fresh Fit 500 approached its half-way mark, the veteran driver radioed that he was still fighting a challenging race car. Labonte and the No. 96 Ask.com team held on to their machine and continued to make adjustments throughout the final two pit stops. They would complete an unscathed 29th-place finish for the day.
"It was a frustrating day," said Labonte. "We began to fight this car yesterday (Friday) and just didn't find the right changes. It's most frustrating because this No. 96 Ask.com team is better than this. We unloaded looking to gain a few lost positions in the points but it just didn't come together for us in Phoenix. The best thing we can do is shake it off and show up in Talladega with some confidence. I know these guys have it in them to get us to the front of the field and hopefully next weekend we'll have a better run."
Labonte and the No. 96 Ask.com team will look to gain points positions next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron's 499.