Labonte going home to Texas

"It seems like drivers have more of a sense of pride to give a good showing to their hometown crowd.”

In 25 starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Bobby Labonte has two pole awards, three top-five and five top-10 finishes and has led 59 laps. Labonte’s best finish is third-place three times. His average start is 19.640 and his average finish is 24.920. There have been 18 pole winners and 17 race winners.

Bobby Labonte, Toyota
Bobby Labonte, Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

QUOTES: Texas: “Texas Motor Speedway is similar to a Charlotte (Motor Speedway) or an Atlanta (Motor Speedway),” Labonte said. “I think it is more like Atlanta. It is designed the same way, but handles differently. It is characteristically different and has a unique type of entry and exit. It is a lot flatter than some other tracks that we go to on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. You have got to get your car to handle right. It gives up grip throughout the race and the lap times slow down. Your car needs to be right for the long run. We know we need to unload with a good setup instead of trying to find something that we have to come up with while we are down there. We really want to put on a good show for Clorox and all of our brands this weekend. We are grateful for their support.”

Labonte behind the wheel: “We are all looking forward to racing at Texas Motor Speedway with Bobby Labonte behind the wheel,” crew chief Brian Burns said. “This is one of several tracks that he has had strong runs at in the past. It is a track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit that he enjoys and Texas is where he is from originally. It seems like drivers have more of a sense of pride to give a good showing to their hometown crowd.”

Learning from mistakes: “I think it is obvious everybody at JTG Daugherty Racing works really hard to do the right thing and try not to make mistakes at all,” Labonte said. “We have had some out of the ordinary things happen the last couple of weeks that hurt our performance. Unfortunately, in racing, mistakes are not allowed and we as a team have made a few recently. Everybody is working hard to do the right thing and is getting a good understanding of what happened the last few weeks. We will learn from our mistakes and go on to Texas with an optimistic outlook on the weekend.”

Redirecting focus: “The team has done a good job all year long of being well prepared and not making a lot of mistakes because we can’t afford to,” JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty said. “There is a lot going on in the company right now. We are trying to finish out the season strong and at the same time get ready for next season. Our focus has been a little off for our Sunday goal. Everyone is giving 100 percent. We have been focused all year long, but know we are seeing the finish line and seem to be going through the motions. On the positive side, we are trying to get everyone re-energized because we are going to a place that holds a lot of sentimental value to Bobby. We want to give him the best opportunity to be in the best position to have a great performance because he is always good there.”

Making improvements: “We have had misfortune the last two races with things out of the ordinary going wrong,” Burns said. “We are working hard to make improvements from the last two weeks to get back on track again where we know we should be running competitively with our No. 47 Clorox Toyota.”

Coming home: “This race weekend is always a big deal to me because Texas is my home state and I always look forward to racing there,” Labonte said. “I think the most important thing is that I am excited to get to race this time. Last time I was there, I was really sick and had to get out of the car. I am glad to be back.”

Season winding down: “It has been a pleasure having Bobby in the car this year,” Burns said “The whole team really wants to finish the season strong with him in these last couple of races.”

Appreciative of support over the years: “It has been a pleasure to have Bobby in our car the past few seasons,” Daugherty said. “He is a true champion and a Hall of Famer. He is a tremendous race car driver and person. We have leaned on him heavily as well as TRD in testing pieces and parts. He has been a constant professional and we appreciate him and everything he has done for us as he finishes out his next two races with us this season at Texas and Phoenix (International Raceway).”

Checking out the town: “Texas has so much to offer and we love traveling there,” Burns said. “After we finish up our work at the track, the team will probably head down to the Fort Worth Stockyards. There is so much to do there and some really great steak restaurants.”

Keeping an eye on the championship contenders: “If I had to pick who the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be, I would have to say, ‘I don’t know’,” Labonte said. “I think we need to have another race before there is a clear case for a victor. It is hard to beat Jimmie’s (Johnson) record, but Matt (Kenseth) is going to run good at the next three races. After Texas, maybe we will have a better idea or it might just come down to the wire at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is hard to say.”

JTG Daugherty Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte
Teams JTG Daugherty Racing
Article type Preview
Tags labonte, nascar sprint cup, texas, toyota