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Feb 27, 2013 - 07:14 PM
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2013 Phoenix: Bobby Labonte NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Feb 27, 2013 - 07:05 PM
2013 Phoenix: Bobby Labonte NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

Track: Phoenix International Raceway
Event: Subway Fresh Fit 500
Date: Sunday, March 3, 2013
TV/Radio: FOX, MRN
Start Time: 3 PM ET


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Phoenix Synopsis:

Bobby Labonte's best finish at Phoenix International Speedway (PIR) is third-place (11/7/99) and his best start is first (10/27/96).
Labonte has 28 starts at PIR, three top-five and nine top-10 finishes. The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has led eight races for 68 laps. His average finish is 18.2. The Corpus Christi, Texas-native is currently 14th in the points standings.

Bobby Labonte Stats:
Career Starts: 691
Wins: 21
Top-five: 115
Top-10: 201
First Start: 06/03/1991 Dover
First Pole: 09/11/1993 Richmond
First Win: 05/28/1995 Charlotte
Last Pole: 04/04/2004 Texas
Last Win: 11/16/2003 Homestead (325 races since)
Driver DOB: 05/08/1964
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Crew Chief: Brian Burns

JTG Daugherty Racing PIR Quotes:
"It feels good going into Phoenix International Raceway after our performance on Sunday at Daytona," Bobby Labonte said. "Now that we have the superspeedway race behind us, we're interested to see how we will stack up against the competition over the course of the next few weeks. We are confident and looking to build some momentum out of the box. We've done a lot of work in the off season and are light years ahead of where we were last year. We are optimistic heading into this weekend and we're glad to have GLAD on the hood of our Toyota Camry."

"We are just as excited about Phoenix as we were about Daytona," crew chief Brian Burns said. "We finished 16th and 15th in the races there last year and we have a better package this time around. So, we are looking to run better. We have high hopes for a top-10 finish. Phoenix is one of those tracks that caters to Bobby's style where he has an edge. It's one of our stronger tracks. A track like Daytona, luck has a lot to do with where you finish. However, having a respectable finish in the first race of the season sets the pace for starting the year off on the right foot. We have some tracks coming up where we feel we will excel. We're looking to improve in the points standings. We have four or five teams in front of us that we feel stronger than, and we are going to try to keep the others behind us."

"We are doing good and working real hard," competition director Bobby Hutchens said. "We are in a building process. Basically, this was a new race team this time last year right out of the box. A lot of people don't realize that. The team started with a blank building during this time last year and built the team over the course of the season. I came in late August. We
have tried real hard during the off season to incorporate a lot of new people from an engineering standpoint and straighten up some things in the shop from a competition side that will make our performance on Sundays much better.

"Getting away from superspeedway racing this week, I think people will see a whole different race team," Hutchens added. "It has been a building process for the most part, but I am hoping we will see the fruits of our labors here in the next couple of weeks when get to race regular tracks. We have tried to be smart about it, set some priorities and do what's within our bounds. We did not come in there and turn the place up, fire a bunch of people and cut all the cars up. It was not the right thing to do. We have tried to systematically work our way through what we think will make a difference in performance on Sunday. We have prioritized the things that we feel will make the biggest difference on the track. Tad's giving us the latitude. I laid out a budget for our engineering group and our competition side when I first got there. I said, 'Hey, if we are going to run with these guys in the front of this group every week, this is what it's going to take.' Tad kind of looked at me like I was crazy. At the end of the day, we set down over a couple weeks and he said, 'Well I've got to go out and sell some more.' That's what he does well. He's on the road and I'm in the shop. He would call me every couple days and say I have got this, I have got that. We would order this and hire that person and that's kind of how we dealt with it. To be honest with you, it has been a lot of fun. It reminds me of when I started at RCR (Richard Childress Racing) in 1988 with a small group. When I started, I was the 18th employee. When I left, there were 500. At JTG Daugherty Racing, this thing's got around 30 people that touches the race car every day. It is nice to get to know them, their wives, their kids and their dogs. When you get in that big thing, it almost rolls over you before you realize what happens."

"We are a one car team and that limits us a little bit when we get to the track," Hutchens continued. "We have to be smart about what we do. Toyota has stepped up to help us out from an engineering perspective. That has meant a lot because I have been used to having a group of people to be able to turn to and rely on and grab information. When I walked in the door, there was not a lot of that going on. We have tried to pollinate that the best we can. At the end of the day that will make a big difference. We hope to make those folks proud that we have taken the knowledge and the engineering expertise that they have and put it into this small team and hopefully we are going to gain off of it.

Glad Food Storage Containers and Trash Bags:

• Glad.com: Glad.com is the one stop shop for all your recycling and composting. The new website has everything from recycling and composting tips to tools to find local recycling centers to forums to ask waste related questions.
• Black Bag: Glad Black Bag just launched its Trail of Trash game on its Facebook page where fans play an interactive game to clean up messes around Hollywood for the chance to win great prizes. Check it out at Facebook.com/Glad.

• Glad One Bag: Starting Monday, Glad’s Facebook fans can help plan a celebrity One Bag event for actress and mom Tiffani Thiessen. Each week they’ll crowdsource various elements of a One Bag event – from the venue to the theme to the cuisine – that will produce just one bag of waste, with the rest going to recycling and composting. Fans can also be entered to win $10,000 and event planner to go toward a One Bag party of their own. Vote starting Monday at Facebook.com/Glad.

Tailgater of the Week:

Do you have what it takes to be the “TAILGATER OF THE WEEK”?

Zach Thomas and Kevin Shufelt from New York sure did. They became the first to win a prize pack for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for their innovative setup in Turns 1 and 2 at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 in the photograph shown. They were also using some of the team's major brands, such as, Kingsford Charcoal, Clorox and SCOTT Products that pushed them to the front of the pack. The Kingsford Charcoal bag sitting next to their grill is what initially drew our attention to check out their campsite. Congratulations to Zach and Kevin!

Find out how you can receive a prize pack and also be in the running to be the ultimate “Grillmaster” that includes an all expense paid trip and be the VIP guest of JTG Daugherty Racing at the big race in Las Vegas in 2014.

Get out to the track and let us know where you are tailgating! Each race weekend during the Sprint Cup season JTG Daugherty Racing will be scouting the infields and campgrounds, looking for the best tailgaters at the track. The best, most enthusiastic tailgaters each race weekend will win a custom prize pack and become eligible for our “TAILGATER OF THE YEAR” competition.

You can let us know where you are tailgating by tweeting us your location. Throughout the weekend, leading up to the green flag, our team members, owners and maybe even Bobby Labonte himself will be patrolling the infield and campsites looking for the best tailgaters. So, fire up your grills with Kingsford® Charcoal, heat up a can of Bush’s® Grillin’ Beans and clean up your messes with Clorox® and Scott® Brand Products!

Bobby Labonte Scheduled Appearances in Phoenix:

Sunday, March 3rd from 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.

Bobby Labonte appears at Phoenix International Raceway's Trackside Club for a 15-minute Q&A during an all-inclusive fan hospitality event.

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