Kansas: Bobby Labonte preview

Looking For Best Petty Enterprises Season Since 1999 Labonte Helps Team Continue To Move Forward This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the ...

Looking For Best Petty Enterprises Season Since 1999
Labonte Helps Team Continue To Move Forward

This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway for Sunday's LifeLock 400. Sunday's race is the 29th in the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. It's also the first of five mile-and-a-half tracks that teams will compete on in the final eight races.

The team is competing for a top-15 finish in the Nextel Cup standings. Labonte is currently 17th and chasing Casey Mears and Greg Biffle for the 15th spot. A Petty Enterprises driver hasn't finished higher than 17th in points since John Andretti in 1999 when he finished the year 17th. Labonte is 184 points out of 15th.

Labonte has one previous start for Petty Enterprises at Kansas.  He
started 16th and finishes 17th one year ago.  He has six total starts
with a top finish of 16.  His best start is from the fourth position.

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

"We have to come back from Dover with a strong finish. We lost some of that momentum that we had built. The accident at the end wasn't our fault at Dover, but it didn't help us get the finish we needed. We had a stretch of three our four weeks where we had hit on good stride. The past weeks we've slowed that pace down a little bit. We want to pick it back up and start gaining more positions in points.

"There was a point when we were just stuck in the 'twenties' in points. Doug (Randolph, crew chief) came on board and we moved into the 'teens'. It seems like we've been 17th for a while and we want to break into the top-15 before the end of the season. To do that, we need to get back to top-10 and top-five finishes.

"Kansas is going to be a critical race for all of us. We have races left at Lowe's, Atlanta, Texas and Homestead. They are similar to Kansas and you need to be right on the top of your game with the 'old' cars right now. These tracks with these cars are making up the majority of the end of this season. Downforce, engineering, shocks, springs, all that go into these cars at mile-and-a-half tracks, you want to have the best setup. That is going to help guys move forward. We haven't found the consistency we've needed at these tracks, but we've had times where we have showed our strength at them too.

"It's been a piece that Doug has really helped us. We were better at California and he's made changes to that part of our program. I'm anxious to get to Kansas and see what we have because it can be something pretty good. It's a track that can help us get started in moving in a faster direction to the front. I'm confident in Doug's abilities to prepare good cars for us.

            "Everyone has their own goals until the end of the
season.  A lot of people are focused on the championship, but every team
has a battle to fight.  We always want to get better and be better than
before.  We know we've made progress, but it's slowed a
little bit.  It's time to get back on track and be even better.

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Bobby Labonte , Greg Biffle , Casey Mears