CONCORD NC -- Justin Labonte, son of two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, has joined the Briggs Cunningham-Kerry Scherer ARCA RE/MAX Series team and will receive assistance from Kyle Petty and Petty Enterprises to run Dodge ...
CONCORD NC -- Justin Labonte, son of two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, has joined the Briggs Cunningham-Kerry Scherer ARCA RE/MAX Series team and will receive assistance from Kyle Petty and Petty Enterprises to run Dodge Intrepids.
Although the third-generation driver will debut the new team at Lowe's Motor Speedway in a Chevy Monte Carlo, Labonte will compete in Dodge Intrepids in ten remaining RE/MAX Series superspeedway events.
"We're really excited about the whole thing," said the younger Labonte. "To be associated Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer and Petty Enterprises is a big deal for me. And I think the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the right place for me at this point in my career. We'll run Winston Cup cars on the same tracks, so I think it's the right place for me to learn and grow as a race driver. Given Briggs and Kerry's past record and the equipment and assistance we're getting, we think we can run in the top-five consistently, and hopefully win in this series. Adam Petty and I were close friends. I know he won his first big-time superspeedway race in the ARCA RE/MAX Series here at Charlotte. I'd love to follow in his footsteps. Right now, we're planning on running most of the remaining superspeedway events this season. I'd love to run those two dirt track races (Springfield and DuQuoin), but at this point, we'll be concentrating on the speedways."
Labonte's Dodge Intrepid equipment will be owned by renowned Chrysler sports car racing innovator Cunningham, in conjunction with Scherer, with fabrication services and engine preparation provided by the Petty Enterprises shops. Chassis will come from the existing inventory of ARCA RE/MAX Series teams owned by Cunningham-Scherer and Terry Labonte.
"The whole team is really pumped up over this," said Scherer. "Terry Labonte and Kyle Petty, in addition to being great racers, are truly first class people and we're thrilled to be affiliated with them. We feel Justin is the next great up-and-coming driver, and he's got a great combination of youthful enthusiasm and a veteran's steady hand. Given Briggs' history and tradition with Chrysler, to be the first Intrepid in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition, gives us a genuine source of pride."
"This is a great opportunity for Justin," said Terry Labonte. "With his short track experience and some time in the NASCAR Busch Series and the ARCA RE/MAX Series, this seems to be the right place for him to be at the right time. He's already shown a lot of promise in the series, and I just appreciate Briggs and Kerry and Kyle giving him this opportunity."
In four ARCA RE/MAX Series starts in Chevrolets owned by Terry Labonte, the younger Labonte has already inked two top-five finishes including a runner-up finish in the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway last year as well as a fourth place finish in first start at Lowe's last May. In the team's initial outing at the open test for ARCA RE/MAX Series teams at Lowe's on April 25, Labonte posted the fastest unofficial speed of 181.757 mph.
"From the Petty Enterprises perspective, this deal can provide our Winston Cup teams with information which could prove to be valuable down the road," said Kyle Petty, who himself won his first race in ARCA competition at Daytona in 1979. "And personally, Adam was really close to Justin. Terry Labonte and I are friends. So if I can help in some way to further Justin's racing career, we couldn't feel better about it. We're looking forward to combining resources with Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer."
In addition to running ARCA RE/MAX Series events at Lowe's and possibly Kansas, Labonte is slated to compete in both events at Michigan Int'l Speedway and both at Pocono Raceway as well as Kentucky Speedway in July; Chicagoland Speedway in September; Lowe's in October and season finale events at Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Eddie Sharp has been tapped to serve as the team's crew chief.