Homestead: Bobby Labonte race report

Phoenix Racing and Bobby Labonte Bring Home 22nd-Place Finish Homestead, Fla. (November 21, 2010) - With much ado in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale, Phoenix Racing and Bobby Labonte were set to finish the season with a strong run. The...

Phoenix Racing and Bobby Labonte Bring Home 22nd-Place Finish

Homestead, Fla. (November 21, 2010) - With much ado in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale, Phoenix Racing and Bobby Labonte were set to finish the season with a strong run. The No. 09 C&J Energy Chevrolet accomplished their goal, bringing home a 22nd-place finish at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

Labonte started Sunday's Ford 400 in the 32nd-position, hoping to make their C&J Energy Services Chevrolet handle better throughout the day and find more speed. Their first opportunity came early. A Lap 19 caution allowed Labonte to come down pit road for fuel, four tires and a track bar adjustment.

Restarting on Lap 22 in the 34th-position another caution waved on Lap 25, this time for championship contender Denny Hamlin. The team chose to stay out and restart in the 29th-position on Lap 27.

Labonte held his position throughout the next 30 laps of competition. Reporting that he didn't have any grip, the team went to work to find a solution. A long green run forced the field to pit under green. Coming down pit road on Lap 71, the team changed four tires, topped off on fuel and made another track bar adjustment.

The caution finally flew on Lap 99 for debris. Labonte reported he was tight. The James Finch-owned team stayed out and restarted the race in 34th-place on Lap 102.

Labonte was up to 31st-position when the fourth caution flew at Lap 134 for a spin in Turn 4 involving Marcos Ambrose. Labonte was slowly climbing up the leader board, but more adjustments were needed to make the car faster.

On Lap 188, the seventh caution flag flew for debris on the frontstretch. Crew Chief Nick Harrison chose to leave the No. 09 on the track and take the "wave around" to gain track position. Restarting on Lap 192 in 30th-place Labonte was now on the lead lap ready to pick off the contenders.

A short four laps later the eighth caution flag flew. The team came down pit road for minor adjustments, four tires and fuel- coming out in the 24th-position. With 65 laps to go, Jeff Gordon blew an engine to bring out another yellow flag.

Labonte restarted in 13th on Lap 205 and quickly dropped back due to loose conditions. As the leaders began green flag pit stops, the No. 09 team decided to hold out hope of one last caution. With luck on their side, the team got the caution they were looking for. At Lap 244, Labonte was scored in the sixth-position.

"We really had to fight hard for this finish today," said Labonte. "The guys did a lot of work to dial in this car from yesterday to the end of the race. Nick (Harrison, Crew Chief) made great calls during the race and that allowed us to gain a lot of track position.

"I've got to thank the great folks from C&J Energy who helped us out at the end of this season. Also to James Finch and this Phoenix Racing team, they have been great to work with and I'm grateful for the opportunity that they gave me this year."

-source: bobby labonte PR

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Marcos Ambrose , Denny Hamlin
Teams Phoenix Racing