BOBBY LABONTE FINISHES 23RD AT MONSTER MILE Bobby Labonte started Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway from the 41st position. For most of the 400-lap event, he reported that his No. 96 DLP Ford was not handling well -- at one point...
BOBBY LABONTE FINISHES 23RD AT MONSTER MILE
Bobby Labonte started Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway from the 41st position. For most of the 400-lap event, he reported that his No. 96 DLP Ford was not handling well -- at one point too tight, at another too loose. Despite battling an ill-handling race car, Labonte held his own and finished the race in 23rd place.
Rain fell over Dover, Del. most of Sunday morning, but the clouds parted just in time for the race's start. Pole winner, Jimmie Johnson led the 43-car field to the green flag and by the competition yellow on lap 25; Johnson was steadily gaining on Labonte. In an attempt to put space between the leader and the No. 96, crew chief Ben Leslie opted for just two tires on the first pit stop.
The call would prove beneficial for Labonte and team 96, as he gained 12 track positions on the pit stop. Labonte was running 23rd when green flag racing resumed on lap 30.
Leslie's call would pay off again just two laps later when several cars behind Labonte were taken out of the race due to a multi-car collision. The race was red flagged for several minutes and restarted on lap 37 with Labonte scored in 23rd place.
Over the next several runs Labonte reported an ill-handling No. 96. Despite Labonte's reports, the DLP crew made only minor chassis and air pressure adjustments to the No. 96 Ford Fusion during scheduled pit stops.
Though Labonte didn't have the car he'd hoped for, he did what he could to manage his Ford. The checkers waved at lap 400 and Labonte crossed the finish line in 23rd position.
"It was a frustrating day," said Labonte following the race. "We fought it all day and could never get our car handling well. Track position is real important and we just didn't have it and couldn't really gain any either."