Texas: Bobby Labonte race report

BOBBY LABONTE SECURES 23RD-PLACE FINISH IN HOME STATE OF TEXAS Dallas -- It was an event-filled weekend for NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Bobby Labonte, who was carrying a very special supporter -- Texas Governor Rick Perry -- on-board his No. 71...

BOBBY LABONTE SECURES 23RD-PLACE FINISH IN HOME STATE OF TEXAS

Dallas -- It was an event-filled weekend for NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Bobby Labonte, who was carrying a very special supporter -- Texas Governor Rick Perry -- on-board his No. 71 Chevrolet as he raced at Texas Motor Speedway.

With the very unique sponsorship from Texans for Rick Perry, Labonte and the TRG Motorsports team couldn't wait to hit the track in Labonte's home state of Texas on Monday after two days of steady rains postponed the Samsung Mobile 500. After a long day of racing, the team garnered a strong 23rd-place finish in the Lone Star State.

Despite fighting tight conditions on his qualifying run, Labonte gained 11 spots on the competition only three laps into the race. He radioed crew chief Doug Randolph that his car was, once again, very tight. The No. 71 pit crew went to work on the car on the competition caution on lap 25 by making an air pressure adjustment, putting one rubber in the right-rear of the car, and removing one from the left-rear. By lap 50, the tight conditions returned and the crew spent the remainder of the race making adjustments to free the car.

With only 18 laps remaining in the event, race leaders scrambled to go three-wide and caused a nine-car pileup on the frontstretch causing extensive damage and resulting in a 20-minute red flag for the entire field. Labonte escaped with no major damage and finished the race in 23rd.

"I was so excited to getting on the track this weekend with Governor Perry on-board the No. 71. We were really tight at the start of the race, but Doug and the guys got it better," Labonte said. "It took us a few stops to adjust on it, but it finally came around. The rest of the race we had to fight track position. We didn't have the speed in the car like we wanted so we had to race the guys around us the best we could. That big wreck at the end was a benefit to us. It put us in position to finish in the top-25. We just lost time early and the wreck helped us gain the spots at the end. The guys did a good job on pit road today."

Not only was team owner Kevin Buckler pleased with the gains the team made on the track, but was also happy to have the Governor joining TRG Motorsports on pit road.

"The partnership we've had with the Governor's re-election campaign has been really special for Bobby, myself and the entire team," Buckler said. "The response that we've seen from this really speaks to the power of NASCAR sponsorship and it's pursuing unique opportunities like this that continue to separate us from the pack when it comes to thinking outside of the box to make our Cup effort a success. Our entire team did a terrific job to insure the success of this partnership and I am really proud of everyone."

After a short week in the shop, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will visit the superspeedway at Talladega for the Aaron's 499 on Sunday, April 25.

-source: trg motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kevin Buckler
Teams TRG Motorsports