Bobby Labonte and the 43 Cheerios "Circle of Helping Hearts" Dodge team scored a 16th place finish in Sunday's event. The team was forced to bring out the backup car as a result of a crash during Friday's practice session. Labonte and crew chief ...
Bobby Labonte and the 43 Cheerios "Circle of Helping Hearts" Dodge team scored a 16th place finish in Sunday's event. The team was forced to bring out the backup car as a result of a crash during Friday's practice session. Labonte and crew chief Jeff Meendering were optimistic that they could get the backup to perform as well as the primary. As the green flag fell for the start of the race, it appeared that they had hit on a great setup. Labonte drove up from his 39th starting position into the top-12 by lap 53. The No. 43 Dodge was one of the faster cars on the track during long green flag runs. However, as the race progressed, the car grew tighter. Meendering made heavy adjustments to the chassis, but nothing allowed the car to rotate to Labonte's liking.
"I don't know if we just didn't stay on top of the changing track conditions, but the car wasn't the same at the end of the race," sounded Labonte. "When they dropped the green it was so fast. I thought we were in for a sure top-10, maybe top-5. The pit crew was great and they kept our track position. Jeff did everything he could, but it was just super tight at the end. It was still a decent point's day for us. We'll go to Atlanta looking to gain some more ground."
Kyle Petty and the No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge team finished Sunday's event in 32nd position. He was also involved in a practice skirmish on Saturday afternoon, but the Wells Fargo team did a masterful job in repairing the Dodge Charger without having to use the backup. Petty had a car that was a rocket during the early stages of the race as well. After staying out during green flag pit stops, Petty found himself running 12th. However, the caution flag did not fall his way. Still, Petty was running mid-pack when the handling of the car went away. This ended what was a promising point's day.
"I'll tell you, I could not be prouder of the guys on this Wells Fargo team," said Petty. "The wreck on Saturday was not our fault, but it still put us in a bind. These guys went to work and put a very fast racecar on the track today. That's really encouraging. But the track really changed a lot between the green and the checkered. It's a little bit of a mystery to Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) and I as to how the handling went away like that."
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