FONTANA, Calif. (March 22, 2011) – – Remaining within striking distance of the top 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings, Bobby Labonte and his JTG Daugherty Racing team are only eight points out of tenth place entering the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway with the No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota Camry.
“I would love to be in the top 12 after 26 races,” Labonte said. “I know there’s a lot of guys out there that feel the same way and have great resources. We’re going to do the best we can and hope to have those great moments and good races that put us there.”
The 13th-place finish Labonte delivered at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend advanced him one position to 14th in the standings. The 2000 champion is focused on continuing his points climb by working harder to excel at the two-mile D-shaped oval on Sunday.
“There are some great racetracks coming up on the schedule,” Labonte said. “Fontana is probably one I would say is not going to be the track I see myself excelling at. That’s why I’m going to work harder than I ever have before to go good there. It’s one that’s buffaloed me the past few times, but I’m not going to let it this time.”
Labonte’s credentials at California are definitely nothing to sneeze at. Twice Labonte has finished second at Auto Club Speedway. Not to mention, he has a total of four top-five and five top-10 finishes and also won one of his 26 pole awards in 2001 with Joe Gibbs Racing at that track.
“Bobby has some solid finishes at California,” crew chief Frank Kerr said. “We’re coming off a strong run at Bristol and it’s great for momentum and we hope it continues. Things are really coming together for us and it’s been a lot of fun working with Bobby. He has so much experience and controls himself when his helmet is squeezing him too tight. We witnessed that at Bristol when he did a 360 without hitting the fence or losing spots. His experience makes all the difference in the world because he has been there, done that.”
One thing Labonte has not done before is drive for Little Debbie. This will be his first race with the brand as they continue to promote their newest creation Little Debbie Cloud Cakes. In addition, they are on a mission – the Little Debbie Smile Mission – to find a million smiles to make up a Little Debbie photo mosaic portrait. Fans can share their smile by simply uploading a photo to littledebbie.com or facebook.com/littledebbie.
“I’m a fan of Little Debbie’s newest sweet treat Cloud Cakes,” Labonte said. “Also, be on the lookout for the official Little Debbie Million Smile Mission Airstream at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. You can easily be a part of the Little Debbie Smile Mission.”
Live coverage of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday March 27th airs live on FOX beginning at 3 p.m. ET. MRN Radio starts coverage at 2 p.m. ET.