After the race, Edwards and Busch swapped paint in a clear disagreement on how the closing laps of the race played out. The two have dominated the season thus far, combining for 14 wins in the first 24 races. This has led to much ballyhooed ...
After the race, Edwards and Busch swapped paint in a clear disagreement on how the closing laps of the race played out. The two have dominated the season thus far, combining for 14 wins in the first 24 races. This has led to much ballyhooed speculation that the Sprint Cup Series may be on the verge of its first true 'rivalry' in recent memory, harkening to the days of Petty-Pearson and Earnhardt-Gordon.
Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Box Tops for Education Dodge team came home 23rd in the Sharpie 500. Labonte started the race from the 37th position as the chassis was too 'tight' in qualifying. When the green flag fell, the condition of the chassis was the same. However Labonte, making his 32nd Bristol start, was able to rely on his veteran experience to race his way into the top-30 by the halfway point of the event. Crew chief Jeff Meendering's adjustments, combined with fast pit stops from the pit crew, helped Labonte move into the 17th position late in the race. Labonte raced hard to stay inside the top-20, but the chassis was too 'tight' in the middle of the corners at the end of the race. For the second consecutive week, Labonte finished ninth of the 43 drivers in the field in the number of green flag passes.
"We were 'tight' in the middle of the corners and that was what killed our lap times," stated Labonte. "That tightness had been there since we unloaded on Friday and we tried everything to get it out. We ran some good lap times during the race and the car was pretty good getting into and off the corners. If it would have turned better in the middle I know we could have finished in the top-10."
Kyle Petty and the No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge team finished 31st on Saturday night. Petty was making his first Sprint Cup Series start since the Coca-Cola 600 in May. He had a solid qualifying effort, slotting in 29th fastest, and the team knew they had a fast car for the race. However, Petty radioed in to crew chief Stewart Cooper on lap 70 that his throttle was sticking. Not wanting to take a chance, considering the speeds that are turned at the 'World's Fastest Half-Mile,' Petty made his way down pit road to have the crew asses the problem. Petty lost several laps during the diagnosis, but when he returned to the track he was running some of the fastest lap times of anyone.
"That was pretty disappointing to have the throttle problem," sounded Petty. "But we are trying to build this team and there was no sense in taking a chance on killing one of our cars. It's unfortunate, but the guys should be proud of the way the car drove tonight. We were fast. I had a lot of fun tonight."