Dover: Bobby Labonte preview

No Test at Dover Raises Questions Cheerios/Betty Crocker Avenger Heads To Dover Prepared To Race This weekend Bobby Labonte and the ...

No Test at Dover Raises Questions
Cheerios/Betty Crocker Avenger Heads To Dover Prepared To Race

This weekend Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the one-mile Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday's Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa.

Teams will enter Dover with the Car of Tomorrow prepared to race without any prior testing at the track. A scheduled test session was cancelled earlier this season after Darlington was rain-delayed a day. This will be the sixth race that teams have raced the new car.

Labonte has finished eighth, 15th and 19th in his last three races in the Dodge Avenger. The finishes, combined with Labonte's 13th place finish Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600 has moved Labonte to 17th in championship points heading into Dover.

Labonte has finishes of 13th and seventh with Petty Enterprises at Dover. He has 29 starts with 14 top-10 and 11 top-five finishes in his career at the concrete-surfaced, banked oval. Labonte was a winner at Dover in 1999. He has also collected three poles at the track.

Comments from Labonte as he prepares for this weekend's Dover 400:

"This is always a demanding race. They talk about the Coca-Cola 600 being a long and demanding race, but 400 laps at Dover is just as demanding. It's a tough track. This race can take a lot out of you. You need to be mentally and physically tough to put in your best effort.

"Dover has never been a track that has bothered me. I've always enjoyed the longer races or the challenging ones. Dover was a good race when it was 500 miles, but I think it was too long for the fans in the seats. They cut it down and it's still a good show. It's still demanding on the drivers, but I liked the 500 miles races. I think it was an extra challenge, but 400 miles is a great challenge too.

"The biggest challenge this week will be the car of tomorrow. We will roll out our Dodge Avenger Friday morning and we hit the track. The rain at Darlington earlier this year forced NASCAR to cancel our test session here. We are all going in with blind eyes. We have a few hours of practice on Friday and a few on Saturday, but that's it. It's going to take a total team effort this weekend.

"It's going to be a battle. You just have to find a good combination for a lot of different factors at Dover. The shocks and springs, the tires on the concrete and now the new cars are all factors you have to study. It's like having a huge test, but only having a few hours to study for it the day before. There is a lot of information to find out. You are trying to cram it all in a few hours. It takes a total team effort.

            "We are just going to pull from all our resources and
put our heads together.  We aren't going to go into Sunday without
having a good idea or game plan of what we want to do.  That's one
thing about our team.  We all work hard and we are always thinking about
the next step.  We are not going to have a lot of time to try a bunch of
different setups this weekend.  You are going to have to hit it right the
first time.  We have smart people that can do that.

"You can't say, 'I wish we would have tested at Dover'. We don't have that attitude. We play our cards and play them the best we can. It's a challenge, but this team is up for it. This Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team is ready for Dover.

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte