Labonte to Start TaxSlayer.com Chevy 25th at Atlanta Atlanta, Georgia, (September 5, 2009) - Bobby Labonte will start the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS from the 13th row for tomorrow evening's running of the NASCAR ...
Labonte to Start TaxSlayer.com Chevy 25th at Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia, (September 5, 2009) - Bobby Labonte will start the TRG Motorsports No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet Impala SS from the 13th row for tomorrow evening's running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 to be run at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
David brist. qual Labonte spent the day getting to know his crew and new ride, having just signed with TRG Motorsports on Thursday. The six time Atlanta winner and 2000 Sprint Cup Champion worked with crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe to get the No. 71 Chevy dialed into the track. The day brought some mixed weather with overcast and cool temperatures in the morning morphing to an afternoon of heat and a few sprinkles.
"You put in a couple of really good laps and then the tires go away," Labonte said. "We made a couple of race runs early in practice and then we focused on the qualifying setup. We were fighting tight and loose, so your typical Atlanta stuff. The sun came out at the end and we got a little bit free. The changes that we have made, the car has responded. That is encouraging. These guys have given me a great opportunity, so I plan on making the best of it this weekend."
The Texan recorded a qualifying lap of 30.608 and a speed of 181 mph under overcast skies.
"The weather made a difference in qualifying. I am glad we put the car back where we had it earlier in the day. It was a little too tight in the center and pretty loose up off the corner. We got a little greedy with some air pressure at the end and lost some grip off the turn. I think we could have been a tenth or so faster. I am really happy with it. It is good."
With the race starting at approximately 7:45 p.m. tomorrow, the team will need to build some adjustability into the car.
"We need to pick up some speed in race trim. The car is not too bad balance wise. When we did our race trim runs it was raining at that time and I didn't get many laps. I will sit down with Slugger and go over the notes and see what we have for tomorrow."
TRG Motorsports team principal Kevin Buckler is happy with the way Bobby is getting along with the team so far.
"It's great having Bobby onboard," Buckler said. "I am glad to see how well the team is working together as one. So far Bobby, Slugger and the rest of the team have gotten right down to business. We are working on a long term plan and this is the first baby step. Bobby is a proven winner here at Atlanta and I am looking forward to the race."