Bobby Labonte looking forward to rest of season

Just one week after a crew chief change that left many garage insiders baffled, Bobby Labonte is looking forward to the rest of the NEXTEL Cup season. Last week, Joe Gibbs Racing released crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain -- a move that seemed...

Just one week after a crew chief change that left many garage insiders baffled, Bobby Labonte is looking forward to the rest of the NEXTEL Cup season. Last week, Joe Gibbs Racing released crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain -- a move that seemed out of place, considering the team currently sits sixth in series standings.

Brandon Thomas, a principal player in JGR engineering department, will serve as interim crew chief as the No. 18 Chevy team tires to retain their position in the top ten to participate in the NEXTEL Cup "Chase for the Championship".

"Obviously there is a change this weekend with Brandon taking over for Michael (McSwain)," said Labonte. "We've had a week off, so that gave us a chance to work on some things before we headed to New Hampshire. We've got eight races to go before the chase for the championship starts, so we need to put ourselves in the best position possible before the final 10 races.

"Hopefully we can start off the second half of the season with a good effort and get a victory."

Labonte is set to make his 19th career start at Loudon, a track where he has never graced victory lane. Labonte finished 14th and 16th in the two events at Loudon last season.

Team 18 has been performing well this season. Labonte has garnered nine top- tens, and one pole position in the 18 races that have been completed.

He will roll the No. 18 Interstate Batteries JGR Chevy from the 20th starting spot on the grid for Sunday's Siemans 300.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing