Bobby Labonte brought the ...
Bobby Labonte brought the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Avenger home in the 18th position in Sunday's event. Labonte took the green flag from the 32nd position. He quickly found out that the car was handling much better after the wholesale changes that were ordered that morning by crew chief Doug Randolph. At times, Labonte was one of the fastest five cars on the track. However, he was not able to grab valuable track position because he was forced down pit road on several occasions to repair a broken front splitter brace. With that repaired, Labonte was able to set his sights on the top-10. A late race pit road speeding penalty knocked him back to the end of the lead lap cars, but Labonte was able to wheel himself back up to 18th place.
"We threw a lot of changes at the car this morning and we weren't really sure what it would do during the race," said Labonte. "Doug definitely made some great calls in the changes he made. The car was really fast at times. It was just hard to figure out what I needed today because we were constantly in traffic. It was almost like a restrictor-plate race out there the way we were so bunched up."
Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge team came into Phoenix needing a solid finish to put some points between themselves and the teams they are racing in the top-35 battle. The veteran driver used a fast car and one 'Lucky Dog' award to finish 29th. This allowed him to gain the points he needed. Petty will head into the season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway needing only to start the event to lock himself into the first five races of 2008.
"The car was good today," said Petty. "The guys on the team knew that it was going to take our best effort to stay inside that top-35. We got that this weekend. Now we have put ourselves in a good position. We just need to make sure we end the season on a positive note and head into the off-season with some momentum."