"Early" Results Show Montreal Test A Success Terry Labonte Turns First Laps At Circuit Gilles Villeneuve In Preparation For NASCAR Busch Series' Historic Inaugural Race In Canada DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2007) -- Under a brilliant blue ...
"Early" Results Show Montreal Test A Success
Terry Labonte Turns First Laps At Circuit Gilles Villeneuve In Preparation For NASCAR Busch Series' Historic Inaugural Race In Canada
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2007) -- Under a brilliant blue Montreal sky, Terry Labonte -- whose grandparents migrated to the United States from the Quebec area -- turned the first laps in a NASCAR stock car Tuesday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in preparation for the NASCAR Busch Series' foray into Canada on Aug. 4.
Labonte, a two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion who owns 11 career NASCAR Busch Series wins -- four at Watkins Glen International -- drove equipment provided by Richard Childress Racing's No. 21 Chevrolet team.
Labonte was met with tremendous media enthusiasm upon his arrival for the 9 a.m. session, where over 75 outlets packed a press conference to learn about his first laps around the 2.71-mile course. The NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge is scheduled for 74 laps (200.054 miles).
"There are some good passing places on this track," Labonte said following his last run. "Everything went really well (with the test). This will be a good show come August. The fans up here will love it."
The media, in turn, pointed out that the fans also will love the fact that Labonte -- whose father's parents were residents of the Quebec area before settling in Maine -- is of Canadian descent.
The RCR team, which included all three NASCAR Busch Series crew chiefs -- Shane Wilson (the 2006 series champion crew chief), Dan Deeringhoff and Pat Smith -- was so prepared for the test that the second session, scheduled to run until 5 p.m., was complete by 2:30.
Labonte drove 21 laps for 57 miles, turning in a fast lap of 109.860 mph (1:49.86 seconds). He averaged 105.602 during his day's work.
This was the second time in three years the RCR organization served as the test team for an international event. They also were the test team for the inaugural race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in January 2005 when Jeff Burton served as the test driver. RCR will share information with other NASCAR Busch Series teams.
"The RCR team was overly-prepared for the test," said NASCAR Busch Series Director Joe Balash. "They were set up and ready to go as soon as the track was available.
"The experience of a driver like Terry Labonte allowed us to gather our information despite the short test. We'll be preparing the data as soon as we return and distribute it among our teams to assist in their preparation for the race.
"It's been a pleasure working with the track during our visits here and with their cooperation, we look forward to having a great event."