Sixteen states and four countries were represented in Sunday's 43 car field. Many of the new faces came in the form of road course "ringers," or drivers that were hired because of their extensive road racing history and skill level. However,...
Sixteen states and four countries were represented in Sunday's 43 car field. Many of the new faces came in the form of road course "ringers," or drivers that were hired because of their extensive road racing history and skill level. However, none of the "hired guns" were able to crack the top-25 in the finishing order.
Terry Labonte and the No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge team finished the Save Mart 350 in the 19th position. Labonte began the race from the 11th position after posting the best qualifying laps of the season for the No. 45 team. When the green flag dropped, T. Labonte had trouble getting the car to turn getting into the corner and lacked grip coming off each of the ten turns. Crew chief Stewart Cooper made several air pressure adjustments and the car became more comfortable for Labonte. Labonte was able to drive through the field to give the No. 45 Dodge its first top-20 finish of the season. The finish also helped the No. 45 Dodge improve one spot in the Sprint Cup owner's point standings.
"It was tough to find grip out there today," said T. Labonte. "It wasn't very hot, but the rear tires would not hook up coming off of the corners. Stewart did a great job in adjusting the air pressure. Sometimes you want to make a bigger change than what is needed. A few pounds of air can make a big difference. We just had a smart, clean race. It was an honor to drive the Wells Fargo Dodge today because they have such a big presence on the West Coast."
Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 39th in Sunday's event. Labonte began the race from the fourth position, which was also his best start of 2008. Like his older brother, B. Labonte was also fighting a lack of grip. On lap two he spun coming off of the final turn on the course, which is a 180-degree "hairpin" turn. He was able to fight back and eventually drove up to the 8th position. On lap 87 B. Labonte had one of the fastest cars on the racetrack, but he began to fall victim to a dead battery. After switching to the backup battery, B. Labonte was able to make it to lap 105 before it expired as well.
"Evidently we had something that was drawing all of our power and it used up both of our batteries," sounded B. Labonte. "I hate it for all of the guys because we had a fast racecar after the early spin. Hopefully we'll be able to figure out what happened. It was going to be a really good day for the Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, but we'll just have to regroup and go to Loudon."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Qualifying for the event will be held on Friday.