JTG Daugherty Racing, Labonte ramps up for 2013 with Charlotte testing

Team completes first of new 2013 Toyota at the two-day open test

JTG Daugherty Racing, Labonte ramps up for 2013 with Charlotte testing

HARRISBURG, N.C. - This afternoon, JTG Daugherty Racing wrapped up a two-day open test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car for the first time.

Bobby Labonte
Bobby Labonte

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

“When we unloaded yesterday, we were off a little bit because it’s the first time we have had this car at the track,” Burns said. “So, it’s kind of new to us. However, halfway through the second day we felt like we caught up to the field and made some big gains. A lot of these teams have already tested a few times with this new car.”

Burns believes his team is still ahead of the curve.

“A lot of the stuff we are doing has to do with running about the same setups we ran the second half of the year,” Burns said. “I feel like the approach we took last year at the end of the season gives us a notebook. A lot of other teams were going down different path with setups. They are going to maybe have to do a little more work. I feel excited we are ahead of the eight ball with some of the stuff we are doing right now.”

The test session gives Labonte and the JTG Daugherty Racing team the opportunity to address unanswered questions about the new car.

“There are a lot of little things we are trying to figure out on the new car,” Labonte said. “There are different nuisances we didn’t have with the other car. The rear camber issue; we’re just trying to get it all figured out. This is the only car we have. So, we will go to the wind tunnel with it when we leave here and learn as much as we can. The biggest difference is the back of the car with the camber. With more camber in it, it’s more secure back to the throttle than what I was used to having last year.”

Having Burns return as crew chief full-time helps the team pick up where they left off.

“The transition over the winter time is short and we have to be on top of our game,” Labonte said. “We improved the last half of the year with Brian as crew chief. He’s been with me for two years now. It’s good to have somebody that reads you and knows you. A person like that, you know he’s going to put things together for you and you don’t have to worry about it.”

The JTG Daugherty Racing team is light years ahead of where they were last season.

“We’re in great shape for 2013,” Burns said. “We have so many positive things taking place at the Harrisburg (N.C.) shop. We’re adding a lot of engineering support and staffing up. We’re in transition with those folks coming on board right now. With the way we are running right now and knowing we are going to get more support, it’s only going to get better.”

Co-owner Tad Geschickter is pleased with how the team is operating.

“We have some exciting stuff happening,” Geschickter said. “We came to an agreement for Brian to stay on board. Chemistry and continuity means a lot in this sport. He’s got a lot of experience working with Bobby and they get along well. He’s a smart guy. We’re pleased that he decided to stay with us.”

“We’ve really turned it around,” continued Geschickter. “It’s a big ship to turn around sometimes. We had Bobby Hutchens join the team in July and he took a hard look at how we are doing things. He started implementing change and we started to see the fruits of his labor there toward the last few races. He’s spent a lot of time with Andy Graves and everyone at Toyota verifying the direction we are heading.”

In addition to all the track talk, there’s a lot of sponsor talk at JTG Daugherty Racing.

“We announced this week that House-Autry Mills is coming on board as one of our partners,” Geschickter said. “You’ll see them on the hood when we do our grilling car. They’ll be on board for the All-Star race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and during the September race at Dover International Speedway. We’re grateful to have a new partner to combine with Kingsford, BUSH’S Baked Beans, SCOTT Products and Clorox. Hopefully, we will have some more announcements coming up soon for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.”

JTG Daugherty Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte
Teams JTG Daugherty Racing
Article type Testing report
Tags charlotte, daugherty, jtg, labonte, nascar-cup, testing, toyota