BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 71 TAXSLAYER.COM CHEVROLET IMPALA SS AND TRG MOTORSPORTS TEAM OWNER KEVIN BUCKLER, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed driving for TRG Motorsports, racing at night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, ...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 71 TAXSLAYER.COM CHEVROLET IMPALA SS AND TRG MOTORSPORTS TEAM OWNER KEVIN BUCKLER, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed driving for TRG Motorsports, racing at night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, expectations and other topics.
BOBBY YOU ARE RETURNING TO ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY WHERE YOU HAVE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS, HOW IS IT GOING WITH YOUR NEW TEAM TRG MOTORSPORTS? "You put in a couple of really good laps and then the tires go away. We made a couple of race runs early in the practice and then we focused on qualifying runs. 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."
BOBBY HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO BE IN THE 71 CONSIDERING WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK? "I am really excited. I am just glad to be here at the race track with Kevin (Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal) and his team. They called me last Tuesday morning. I knew last week that my situation was going to change. I am glad that Kevin gave me the opportunity to keep running. We have TaxSlayer.com on the car this weekend, so we hope to do a good job for them. We are going to do the best we can. These guys have made all of the races this year except for the first one and I am looking to continue that streak. We are looking forward to a good day tomorrow."
KEVIN, HOW MUCH OF A BOOST IS THIS TO YOUR TEAM? "I think it is great. Bobby is an icon in the sport and Atlanta is one of his best tracks. We are proud to help him continue his streak. It is good for our team, our partners and TaxSlayer.com. We want to rally around him and give him a good car this weekend. We were fast here in the spring. Having someone with Bobby's experience is great. I think it will be good for us and good for Bobby."
KEVIN, WHAT IS BIGGEST BENEFIT TO HAVING A VETERAN LIKE HIM BEHIND THE WHEEL? "Experience, no doubt. Bobby has done so well here in Atlanta. For us to hook up with someone who has been in the sport so long and is a past champion is great for a new team. We are new here in the Cup garage coming from sports cars. We are going to learn as much as we can."
BOBBY, HOW MUCH PRESSURE DO YOU FEEL TO GET THIS TEAM FURTHER AHEAD ON THE TRACK? "I think they have done a great job. I just hope that I can bring the right things to them. Sponsorship dollars is huge. TRG Motorsports do a great job managing what they have to spend. Like I said, they have made all of the races except the first one at Daytona. They do a great job. The responsibility on my part is to give them good feedback in the car, make the races and race good."
BOBBY - WITH THE DOUBLE FILE RESTARTS YOU CAN MAKEUP POSITIONS. DO YOU SEE THAT HELPING SPORT OR JUST A FEW GUYS? "I think it is a good observation. The double file restarts can cause more cautions. You might not run as many laps under green as single file. Running single file you are starting further back. It also depends on where you are at. If you are starting fifth row inside in ninth or nineteenth, there is no way to get up there. On a double file restart if you can get a good jump and squirt up three spots that is a huge deal and a definite advantage. Your car has to handle on a short run, more now than it did before. It is easier said than done. You try and set the car up for long runs and then you get a lot of restarts."
BOBBY - DO YOU FAVOR THE TRACK? "I like the track. I wish there was more grip in it. It is pretty worn out. It is so hard to get a hold of sometimes. The notebook with these guys is not very thick and sometimes this track is tough to read. We will have to see what we have in qualifying. I am not sure if five days of practice would help. With limited practice you have to try and get everything right."
BOBBY - HOW IS YOUR CAR THIS WEEKEND? "I think we have a decent car. I think it will be a struggle because the track is so hard to get a hold of this weekend. It is a great race track, but it is also the most temperature sensitive. Three or four years ago it was better, now it is a challenge. You have to have a car that has some grip in it. These cars are so close that it doesn't take much to be off."
BOBBY - WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DAY AND NIGHT RACING HERE AT ATLANTA? "The biggest thing will be the grip level changing. The car will handle better as it gets cooler. If we had to race tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. there would be some screaming people. At 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night, just half of them will be screaming."
-credit: gm racing