Darlington Will Be Challenging For Teams Can COT Handle Track 'Too Tough To Tame'? This weekend Bobby Labonte and the ...
Darlington Will Be Challenging For Teams
Can COT Handle Track 'Too Tough To Tame'?
This weekend Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge travel south to the 1.366-mile Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for Saturday night's Dodge Avenger 500. Labonte and the team will complete a busy week on Saturday after testing earlier this week at the Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Labonte and the Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team have started to build momentum the last three races. The team has finishes of eight, 20th, and a 15th place finish this past weekend at Richmond. Labonte is currently 18th in points.
Labonte has 26 prior starts at Darlington and has been running at the end of them since 1995. His box score is impressive with 11 top-10's, five top-five's and one win. Labonte has one pole at the track. He finished 11th in this race last season and averages a finish of 14th at the circuits most demanding track.
Comments from Labonte as he prepares for this weekend's Dodge Avenger 500:
"We have had some runs where we have been descent. We haven't had any problems and that has helped us move back up in points. That's been a good sign. The guys have been working hard. I think we can see the signs of improvement. We just need to get there and get better.
"Darlington is our next race. It's a good track. They are going to make some improvements to it after this race. That will help. I think it loses its grip so fast now. It makes it a driver's track. You still worry about all the factors of the car, but it's a handful in the seat too. I'll have a busy night on Saturday.
"The improvements and having the track repaved with help. I remember the first time they did it and it improved the speeds up a lot. It's hard to imagine that we'll pick up a ton more speed now because we weren't going that fast back then. I did talk to the staff at the track, and they are still going to use sand-based asphalt. That's going to keep the track abrasive and keep it a handling track.
"Our first challenge will be the Car of Tomorrow at Darlington. These cars don't drive as well like the old cars do. You still have to drive the track, and you always had that problem, but now you're going to do it with a car that's hard to drive. We are going to have to hustle these things around there. Who knows what it will be like? I don't know if it will be good.
"For sure, it will be interesting. We are still going to be going fast. The track is still going to eat the tires. You will have no grip and a car that's tough to get to handle. That's going to make an interesting combination. We just have to wait and see what happens. We're just going to do our best to make sure the Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge is where it belongs at the end of the night."