Labonte Set for Tire Test

Bobby Labonte

"It gives us a an opportunity to spend a couple days on the track and figure out Daytona and also each other." (Photo: Getty Images)


JTG Daugherty Racing is not skipping a beat in preparation for their third full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a new driver that has 21 wins and a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship to his credit.

Bobby Labonte and his No. 47 Toyota Camry team are set to participate in a Goodyear tire test on the freshly repaved 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway December 15-16.

The test will focus primarily on drafting to assist Goodyear in measuring the performance of the new tire recommendation and at the same time it will help all invited teams to prepare for the upcoming 53rd running of the Daytona 500 on February 20th, 2011.

“I received some pictures the other day of the track and it looks pretty smooth,” Labonte said. “After visiting Talladega Superspeedway following its repaving, we are kind of expecting the same thing with the smoothness at Daytona thanks to our friends at Ergon. It’s going to be a little different just because of the bank angle.”

“The Goodyear tire test is a good way to get a jump on the new track surface and gather information for our engineering department,” added Crew chief Frank Kerr. “Like Bobby, I’ve only seen pictures. It’s an unknown. We’ll shake the car down and then go out and make a lot of drafting runs over the course of two days. It’s very beneficial for us on many levels.”

According to Kerr, Labonte is becoming rapidly acclimated with JTG Daugherty Racing’s program. Already, Labonte has tested twice with the team at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. and the mile-long tri-oval of Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla.

“Gresham was our first test together and then we went to Disney’s track for a combined test with TRD (Toyota Racing Development),” Kerr said. “We worked with E15 fuel and a new electric fuel injection motor combining a car test to continue building our relationship with Bobby. It went well and it was very productive. We gained a lot of knowledge from Bobby’s vast experience with Cup engines. He gave good direction and we were also able to test some parts for next season.

“It was good to see him rejuvenated with this great opportunity with our team,” Kerr continued. “We’re going to give him every resource possible to get him back to victory lane."

“The past few tests have been really good and we can continue to build on that,” Labonte added. “It’s not like you are going to go to three tests and be like, ‘Okay, we are good.’ But, it gives us an opportunity to spend a couple days on the track and figure out Daytona and also each other. So, when we unload at the racetrack in February we will know the steps we will take and the things we are going to go through to be successful - - and it will feel familiar.”

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