NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tag Archives: Bobby Labonte

Bubble Breakdown: Andretti, Labonte’s Solid Showing Leaves Speed Searching For Answers

Well if you were to ask John Andretti, he'd tell you that New Hampshire is just beautiful this time of year; but ask Scott Speed, and you may get a totally different answer. While driving to a solid 26th-place finish, Andretti and the No. 34 team extended their lead over Speed and the No. 82 car for the final "locked in" spot in the field each week. So to see just how badly Front Row Motorsports beat their rivals, as well as how your other bubble dwellers did, read on in this week's edition of the Breakdown.

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The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2009 Sylvania 300 at Loudon

Somewhat lost in Juan Pablo Montoya’s charge up through the field late in the race was the fact that he had a “coming together” with Jeff Burton where he got into turn 3 a little hot and hit Burton in the driver’s door. Both cars then got loose in the corner, allowing Dale Earnhardt Jr. to stick his nose into the battle. Very aggressive and much more like the Montoya of the past two seasons as compared to the Montoya of the first 26 races of this season. Burton was not pleased with this maneuver and bumped Montoya under caution to make his point known.

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Fantasy Insider: Lighting The Way To Your Own Chase Success at Loudon

_And so beginneth the creation that Brian calls the Chase. For 12 select drivers, Sunday's green flag will mark the start of a 10-race pursuit of a dream; but for 31 others, it's a chance to end 2009 on a high note. So as the title contenders continue to stroke the points in their made-for-TV drama, the chances for the track nicknamed the "Magic Mile" to live up to its name will be there. Keep in mind that for 3/4 of the field, there's no longer any reason not to go for broke, giving them an extra level of aggression that's sure to spice up the competition on this one-mile oval. The Sylvania 300 will undoubtedly dim the lights for some come race's end, but the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider will have your roster shining bright._

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Fantasy Insider: Rocking and Rolling to Richmond Fantasy Success

_The Race to the Chase concludes this weekend, with a Saturday night short-track special under the lights at Richmond setting the field for NASCAR's made-for-TV "playoffs." And while ESPN will be up to their usual tricks, trying to create rivalries between Chase contenders or hyping a hypothetical "tie" scenario that could put 13 drivers in the postseason, race fans out there should nonetheless be excited... because if the spring was any indication, Richmond will be the site of another 400 laps of side-by-side racing and paint trading. It doesn't get better, or more challenging, than short-tracking under the lights, and the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider will have you enjoying your fantasy team's performance as much as the racing on-track._

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Bobby Labonte Likely a One-Hit Wonder for TRG Motorsports

The past weekend’s race at Atlanta would appear to have been nothing short of vindication for Bobby Labonte. A past champion who was unceremoniously semi-released from his Cup ride in favor of a part-time Nationwide Series driver, Labonte did exactly what any driver in his shoes would like to have …

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Did You Notice? The Power Of Motivation, Danica Drama, And How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot

*Did You Notice?* … How the simple threat of future job security in NASCAR can motivate drivers sitting in midpack? Every year about this time, there can be so many drivers who enter that ugly malaise of just going through the motions. They’re not _bad_ enough to have to fight to stay within the top 35, but not _good_ enough to contend for a spot in the Chase, delivering what’s become the equivalent of a C/C- performance on paper each week. With a 36-race schedule becoming the equivalent of an office daily grind, it gets to the point where they simply collect their weekly paycheck and muddle on through a year defined by complacency. It’s like the guy in _Office Space_ before he realizes the job has started boring him out of his mind; the most exciting thing about his job is finishing up at the end of the day and going to watch kung fu.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Edition

The buzz generated by Sunday’s exciting night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will likely reverberate through the NASCAR masses for a long time. The Pep Boys Auto 500 saw exciting racing for much of the event and saw someone not driving a non-Hendrick-affiliated car go to Victory Lane (though many were picking Jimmie Johnson to win). The race also did nothing to answer which drivers will be in safe mode for next week’s “race before the Chase” at Richmond. Kasey Kahne’s win moved him from 11th to 6th in the standings, while Carl Edwards’ oil pan problem regulated him to a poor finish and to within 85 points of falling outside the top 12. Kurt Busch totaled his No. 2 Dodge and lost a lot of his points. Kyle Busch led laps but faded toward the end and ended up _losing_ points to 12th place Matt Kenseth, despite Kenseth putting his No. 17 Ford into the wall twice in the first 20 laps. Brian Vickers’ No. 83 team bounced back from axle trouble, to finish 7th and leapfrog ahead of Busch in the points. Now 122 points are all that separate 14th in points Kyle Busch from 5th in points Edwards. The racing in Atlanta was eventful, exciting, and very influential in the points. Here are the *HOT*, *WARM* and *NOT* drivers this week:

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Running Their Mouth: 2009 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta

_Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a peek at what the drivers were thinking following the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway:_ "It feels awesome to win at Atlanta, to win on a night like tonight when the Chase and everything has been so tight for the last two months. This team has stepped up. The pit stops were awesome all night. With 11 laps to go, just getting to the front was what I was thinking I needed to do. Once we did it, everything was perfect from there on out. Just a great team effort, something Richard Petty Motorsports really needed." _Kasey Kahne_

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David Stremme, Paul Menard Lead Several Bubble Drivers With Top 20 Finishes

Well pull up a chair kids, we had a major case of musical seats amongst some of our bubble teams that isn’t even over yet and I’m gonna try and explain it all to you. It started when Bobby Labonte who drives for Hall of Fame Racing was taken out of his ride by HOF’s “partner” Robert Yates Racing and replaced with young Erik Darnell for seven of the last 11 races. Needless to say Labonte was none too happy. When this news broke, TRG Racing offered their seat to Labonte for the seven races he’d be available starting at Atlanta Sunday night. This meant their regular driver David Gilliland was out for those seven races, including Atlanta until Bill Elliott cracked some ribs in a dirt bike accident. The Wood Brothers then tabbed Gilliland to drive their car for the weekend. Gilliland then also landed a ride next weekend driving the No. 7 Toyota for Robby Gordon Motorsports while Robby is away at an off road event. This opens up the No. 71 ride next weekend and it will be filled by Mike Bliss, who drove the No. 09 Dodge this weekend, which next weekend will be the No. 09 Chevy driven by Brad Keselowski. If this wasn’t confusing enough, Joe Gibbs Racing has a contractual obligation to Farm Bureau to put the No. 02 Toyota on the track with Farm Bureau as a primary sponsor. And who is gonna drive it? David Gilliland. This puts David in an odd position as he’s scheduled to drive both the No. 71 and the No. 02 at Charlotte. Oh and by the way Bobby Labonte is still gonna drive his old No. 96 in four races. So there it is, clear as mud. With all this you must be asking yourself how all of the drivers did in their new rides. Well to find out read on in this week’s edition of the bubble breakdown.

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