Pocono: Petty Enterprises qualifying report

This weekend's race marks the first time that the new chassis has been used on a flat, 2.5-mile superspeedway. While there are only three such races on the Sprint Cup schedule, they are important races. Along with the two races at Pocono, the ...

This weekend's race marks the first time that the new chassis has been used on a flat, 2.5-mile superspeedway. While there are only three such races on the Sprint Cup schedule, they are important races. Along with the two races at Pocono, the Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway is also 2.5 miles in length and relatively flat.

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team will start Sunday's event from the 37th position. Labonte likes the unique, triangular layout of Pocono as he is a three-time winner at the track. During the afternoon practice session, Labonte and crew chief Jeff Meendering had to deal with a No. 43 Dodge Charger that was 'loose' getting into the corner and 'tight' in the center. After several adjustments, the two were happy with the balance of the car. They chalk the qualifying results up to an anomaly of changing weather conditions.

"It was cloudy for most of the practice session, but the sun came out during qualifying," said Labonte. "Turn 1 is really bumpy and I hit the front splitter on the track, which cause the car to 'push' up the track. The car hadn't done that all day. We just lacked grip. Tomorrow's practice sessions will be really important because the weather is forecasted to be the same for Saturday and Sunday."

Two-time Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte and the No. 45 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge team qualified 43rd on Sunday. Labonte is competing in his first race for Petty Enterprises as Kyle Petty steps into the TNT Sports broadcast booth. Labonte is still getting used to this new chassis, especially on ovals. He did compete in the new car for two races last year, but they were both on road courses. The Pocono 500 will be Labonte's first Sprint Cup race of 2008. He is a two-time winner at the track.

"Practice was encouraging because we got better each time out," sounded Labonte. "If we can continue to do that tomorrow we'll be in good shape. Not only am I getting used to the car, but Stewart (Cooper, crew chief) and I are working on our communication. That's important on these cars because you have to be on top of your adjustments."

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Kyle Petty