Labonte Records 20th Place Finish in No. 47 Bush's Beans Toyota Camry at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
LOUDON, N.H. - - (September 24, 2012) - - Sunday afternoon No. 47 BUSH’S Beans driver Bobby Labonte finished in 20th-place during the 16th annual Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that was won by Denny Hamlin.
It was a respectable day for the JTG Daugherty Racing team. Labonte’s lap times were competitive with the top 15 and he was making progress, but time ran out in the 300-lap event at the 1.058-mile oval where track position is imperative.
“We’re building on it and we were so close,” said JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter to Bobby Labonte as he climbed from his machine after the race.
Lap times are improving for the single-car team and qualifying times too. On Friday, Labonte ran a 28.516 to start 17th in row 9 in the 43-car field. Jeff Gordon set the fastest qualifying time with 28.232 seconds. The rest of the top-10 qualifiers were Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr. and Dave Blaney.
As the field was up to speed for the 28th race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Labonte easily kept his BUSH’S Beans Toyota Camry in the top 25 before heading to pit road at lap 42 for four fresh Goodyear tires and an air pressure adjustment under caution. Right front tire chatter on exit and no grip in the center of the corner seemed to be Labonte’s biggest challenge during the first run.
On the restart at lap 45, Labonte was in 25th place. His car seemed to come alive as he began to run his best lap times of the race.
“You’re running really good lap times right now,” crew chief Brian Burns said to Labonte.
At lap 78, Labonte made his next report.
“It’s got too much rebound in it,” Labonte said.
“You’re still doing good on your lap times,” spotter David Green said.
At lap 100, Labonte headed to pit road for four tires, fuel and one round up on the track bar thanks to the JTG Daugherty Racing pit crew.
Moving into 21st at lap 116, his next pit stop would take place under yellow flag conditions at lap 128.
“We’re going to go up one round on the track bar, change tires and add fuel,” Burns reiterated.
The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion went back to work in 21st place on lap 133 and soon after was running times good enough to be inside the top 15 or top 10 at times.
A debris caution allowed the pit crew to change four tires again and go up another round on the track bar.
“It’s been chattering the right front a little bit,” Labonte said.
“You’re pretty darn good right now,” Burns said. “We‘re going up another round on the track bar because you seem to pick up speed each time.”
By lap 186, Labonte moved into 19th place and remained there until lap 199.
“You’re still doing a great job on times,” Burns said. “You’re running well.”
The next time Labonte was on pit road occurred at lap 244 for four tires, fuel and a round down on the track bar.
“You need to drop the track bar down one round I think,” Labonte said before he entered his pit box.
Labonte’s last and final pit stop of the race came at lap 274 and the pit crew changed all tires and added fuel. On the restart at lap 277, Labonte was in 21st place. With less than 10 laps remaining, he fought hard to reenter the top 20. He did and went on to finish 20th.
“We learned a lot today,” Labonte said. “We appreciate the support from BUSH’S Beans and Hannaford this weekend and look forward to Dover International Speedway this week.”
Live coverage of the AAA 400 from Dover International Speedway begins at 1 p.m. ET airs on ESPN and MRN Radio. Sirius XM will also carry the race.