Phoenix II: Bobby Labonte race report

Phoenix Racing and Bobby Labonte Bring Home Top 20 Finish Phoenix, Ariz. (November 14, 2010) - With determination in their hearts and on their minds, Phoenix Racing and Bobby Labonte brought the No. 09 C&J Energy Services Chevrolet home in...

Phoenix Racing and Bobby Labonte Bring Home Top 20 Finish

Phoenix, Ariz. (November 14, 2010) - With determination in their hearts and on their minds, Phoenix Racing and Bobby Labonte brought the No. 09 C&J Energy Services Chevrolet home in 20th during Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at the one-mile Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway.

Hoping to end the season on a high note for the James Finch-owned team, Labonte started the Kobalt Tools 500 in the 26th-position Sunday. The action began on Lap Three when the No. 71 cut a tire heading into Turn 1. Restarting on Lap Six in the 29th-position, Labonte was ready to settle into the event.

The team did just that, and picked up three positions when a debris caution came out on Lap 102. Labonte reported that the car was 'much better' but still a little free on entry and exit. With four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment, the team had their eye on a solid finish. The field went back green on Lap 105 with Labonte in the 28th-position and one-lap down. Picking through the field one at a time, Labonte was racing cautious but still moving forward.

A long green flag run lead to green flag pit stops, with the leaders starting to pit on Lap 164. Labonte brought his machine down on Lap 164 for four tires and fuel. After the field sorted out, Labonte was now running in spot 25.

Lap 223 brought out the fourth caution and Labonte brought the No. 09 Chevrolet down pit road for another adjustment, four tires and fuel. With 85 laps to go, Labonte was back to 28th.

One by one Labonte picked through the field, gaining four spots when the fifth caution came out on Lap 235 for a spin in Turn 2. Crew Chief, Nick Harrison, made the call to come down for four tires and to pack the C&J Energy Chevrolet with enough fuel to go to the finish.

Restarting Lap 239 in the 23rd-position, Labonte was ready to bring home a top-20 finish for this Phoenix Racing team. With 30 to go, in the 22nd-position, Labonte was running down the #78 of Regan Smith for the 'Lucky Dog' position.

Pit strategy played a part in the outcome of the race as many teams began running out of fuel with 10 laps to go. The No. 09 C&J Energy Chevrolet had enough fuel and brought home a well deserved and well overdue 20th-place finish. Labonte was the highest finisher one lap behind the leaders.

"I was diggin' hard there at the end," Labonte said. "I really wanted to get the best finish we could out of today. This team works their tails off and it's really great for us to finally get a finish that proves that.

"We had a slow start in the beginning and used our pit stops to try and make the car better. We slowly picked off one car after the other. I was trying to be cautious since there was such a big group of us on the same lap. We were three-wide a couple times, and I had to be sure to hold my line.

"This is a good finish for the No. 09 C&J Energy Chevrolet. This gives us some positive momentum heading into Homestead. We will have a bunch of C&J guests there and we are looking to give them another strong run."

-source: bobby labonte PR

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Regan Smith
Teams Phoenix Racing