Labonte 28th in AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
FORT WORTH, Texas (November 7, 2011) - - Bobby Labonte was scored in 28th-place in his No. 47 Wounded Warrior Project Toyota at the conclusion of the AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday evening.
Tony Stewart won race number 34 while Carl Edwards finished second, Kasey Kahne was third, Matt Kenseth was fourth and Greg Biffle rounded out the top-five before an estimated crowd of 151,000. Biffle was also the polesitter (193.736 mph).
Stewart's fourth victory of the season helped close the gap on points leader Carl Edwards. Stewart only trails by three points, Kevin Harvick follows suit, 33 markers out of first. Matt Kenseth is currently fourth and Brad Keselowski is fifth with two races remaining on the 36-race schedule.
When the334-lap race was underway, Biffle led the field the first 23 laps and was one of 10 drivers that led the race. Labonte started 32nd.
"When we qualified on Friday, the car rolled really good, so I was confused that we didn't go any faster," Labonte said.
Once 15 laps were complete, Labonte communicated to crew chief Brian Burns the handling conditions of this Toyota Camry.
"It's super tight center off the corner," said Labonte, who followed that up a couple laps later with "it's tight in the middle."
It was four tires and a pound of air out of the left rear tire for Labonte's machine at lap 44. Losing total grip by lap 80, Labonte had fallen one lap down to leader Matt Kenseth.
"Bring it in for tires and adjustments," Burns told Labonte seven laps later.
With a debris caution at lap 111, Labonte updated Burns and the JTG Daugherty Racing team again.
"It's super loose, entry to the middle," Labonte said. "Sliding."
"We'll do the wave-around here and then we will pit under green when we have to," Burns said. "If we do not get a quick caution, we will not leave you out there long."
Labonte restarted in 26th place and was pitting under green at lap 130.
"It's loose," Labonte said after his stop.
"That's 30.50 on your lap time and the leader (Stewart) is 30.90," Burns said. "You're faster than the leader."
"It's really loose," Labonte responded.
The team continued to work on the car and their next stop under green for four tires and adjustments took place at lap 180.
"It snaps loose on exit," Labonte said when the caution came out at lap 200.
"We'll do the wave-around again," Burns said. "This race is far from over. While rolling around under caution, save fuel."
Labonte was back to work in 27th place at lap 205 one lap down. He told Burns his car was free in and loose off the corners.
"Loose in and tight in the middle," Labonte said.
"Bring it in for four tires, fuel and adjustments," Burns said as Labonte headed to pit road for fresh tires and a right-side wedge adjustment at lap 228.
As the No. 48 entry of Jimmie Johnson went sliding across the grass, bringing out another caution, Labonte gave another report.
"It's loose in and slides the front end and loose off," Labonte said.
His next opportunity for the wave-around was at lap 261.
"It's getting a little tighter," Labonte said.
"Save gas, we're staying out here," Burns said. "You have 27 green lap tires on it. We're hoping for a caution again. If not, we will pit in about 15 laps."
With a debris caution at lap 269, Labonte was ready to enter pit road for four tires and adjustments.
"We'll pit here," Burns said. "I'm sure some will stay out. There will only be four cars one lap down. So, let's try to get in position for the Lucky Dog."
The team continued their efforts as the laps winded down. As the three hour race came to a close, Labonte took the checkered flag in 28th-place.
With two races remaining, the top 12 drivers leading into Phoenix International Raceway are: (1) Carl Edwards 2,316;(2) Tony Stewart 2,313;(3) Kevin Harvick 2,283;(4) Matt Kenseth 2,278;(5) Brad Keselowski 2,267;(6) Jimmie Johnson 2,261;(7) Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,237;(8) Jeff Gordon 2,235;(9) Kurt Busch 2,229;(10) Denny Hamlin 2,217;(11) Kyle Busch 2,216;(12) Ryan Newman 2,213.
Live coverage on Sunday begins at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. Sirius XM and MRN Radio will also carry the event.