Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 21st on Sunday. At the start of the race, Labonte radioed to crew chief Jeff Meendering that he was 'loose' getting into the corners, especially under braking. Meendering...
Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 21st on Sunday. At the start of the race, Labonte radioed to crew chief Jeff Meendering that he was 'loose' getting into the corners, especially under braking. Meendering made several combinations of air pressure, track bar and wedge adjustments to get the car stable when entering the corners. Richmond is a track that you have to attack and being able to charge the corner is crucial for success. Despite the adjustments, Labonte would go down a lap during the early portions of the race. He would get his lap back, via a "Lucky Dog Award," on lap 211 and would restart 32nd. Needing to pick up valuable track position, Meendering kept Labonte on the track during another caution period on lap 241. Labonte restarted ninth and was able to hold on to 16th place before the next caution came out on lap 296. This picked the team up 16 places on the track. However, on lap 314, Labonte spun coming off the corner. The damage was minimal, but he had to bring the car down pit road for minor body repair. Labonte did a great job in driving the car back up to 21st.
"We were off at the start of the race because this was supposed to be a night race," said Labonte. "This place takes a much different setup during the day because it doesn't have much grip to start with. I was really having trouble getting to the middle of the corner and that's not the way to be here. But we made some adjustments and it got a lot better. The spin was definitely my fault, but there was no grip out there at that point. We were able to fight back for a good finish."
Kyle Petty and the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team came home in the 24th position. Petty had a very fast car, but was a little 'tight' at the start of the race. He also lost a lap early due to this condition. Petty raced his way into position for a "Lucky Dog Award," which he picked up on lap 115. By this time crew chief Stewart Cooper had hit on the right adjustments and Petty began to pick off the cars in front of him. By lap 160 he was up to the 19th position. By lap 208, Petty was running inside the top-15. Petty would make his way up to the 10th position before changing track conditions would cause his handling to go away.
"The guys on this No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team gave me a great car today," sounded Petty. "It was really fast during the middle portions of the race. We just had a set of tires there at the end that were a little' tight' and the track had no grip either. We had great pit stops all day and we were able to put ourselves in position to pick up a 'Lucky Dog.' It was a solid day and something that we can build on."