Track: Daytona International Speedway
Event: Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola
Date: Saturday, July 6
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Radio Coverage: MRN / Sirius XM
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY:
Bobby Labonte has six top-five, 10 top-10 finishes and has led 70 laps at Daytona International Speedway in 41 starts.
The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion also scored two pole awards in 1998 along with capturing his best finish of second-place in both February and October events at the track that year.
JTG DAUGHERTY RACING QUOTES:
Labonte’s return: “It’s great to be back in the No. 47 SCOTT Products Toyota Camry at Daytona International Speedway after a weekend off,” Bobby Labonte said. “I am looking forward to racing at Daytona. I know we will not practice a lot. We will probably do a couple shake down runs and that’s all. We will not need much practice.”
Superspeedway night racing at its finest: “Racing under the lights at Daytona International Speedway has to be exciting for the fans to watch,” Labonte said. “So much can happen in a hurry.
“We just need to stay competitive to be in the lead pack,” Labonte continued. “We have to be as smart as we can to cross the start-finish line further up than where we start. We’ve got just as good of a chance as anybody to finish first.”
Track position seems to be important: “We do need to have track position at Daytona International Speedway and it is more important than when we race at Talladega Superspeedway,” Labonte said. “It’s because the width of the track is more narrow. There is more of a chance to run side-by-side and at Daytona you will not relax as much. Your car may not handle as good as you want it to, so you may have to pick and choose your battles. You have to be conscientious. You can go three-wide to pass a guy, but not four-wide like you can at Talladega.”
Crew chief likes the team’s chances at Daytona: “This is one track where it is anybody’s race and we have had some good runs there and we have had some back luck there,” crew chief Brian Burns said. “At the same time, it’s a place where we can turn our luck around. We have done a lot of work with our speedway cars and we should be even stronger than before. We are looking to benefit from this weekend.
“It is great to have a veteran driver like Bobby Labonte in the No. 47 SCOTT Products Toyota Camry,” continued Burns. “He knows when to push the envelope and when not to push it. He came close to winning there in 2011 with the team. We hope to be in a good position like that when it comes down to the wire Saturday night.”
Labonte taking some time for himself: “I took some time off this week,” Labonte said. “When I get to the track, I might go fishing for trout or bass depending on where we go around Daytona (Fla.). I’m just taking some time to do some things that’s relaxing. I brought my golf clubs as well. So, I may go play a round of golf.”
Team owners reflecting: “AJ Allmendinger’s input has been really valuable and should help the team continue to progress throughout July,” JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter said. “His experience with fuel injection mapping with other teams is one specific area where we have been able to totally rethink our approach.”
BOBBY LABONTE STATS:
Career Starts: 706
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 (329 races since)
Driver DOB: 05/08/1964
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Crew Chief: Brian Burns
GET OUTSIDE AND GRILL:
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TAILGATER OF THE WEEK:
Last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, Tailgater of the Week was awarded to Thomas (Tommy) Nielsen, who is stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Nielsen, who is originally from Texarkana, Texas, made a directional sign to honor his two buddies that caught the attention of the JTG Daugherty Racing tailgating patrol.
“We lost two buddies in Afghanistan and we wanted to do something to honor them so we got the idea of the sign from the show M*A*S*H,” Nielsen said. “We’ve got Iraq and Afghanistan for our buddies deployed and the plaque is to honor the two we lost. I’ve been coming to Kentucky Speedway since 2009. I came home for R&R (rest and relaxation) to visit family and friends and to go to the race. My favorite driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Do you have what it takes to be the “TAILGATER OF THE WEEK”?
Are you the ultimate “Grillmaster” at the race track?
Do you want to win an all expense paid trip and be the VIP guest of JTG Daugherty Racing at the big race in Las Vegas in 2014?
If you answered yes, then 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!
Simply follow us on Twitter @NASCAR47 , send us a tweet with your tailgate location and include the hash tag #TweetYourTailgate
3:10 to 3:20 PM Sprint Stage Appearance for Q&A in front of fans in midway
3:30 PM Coca-Cola Meet & Greets
4 PM (TBD) Freightliner Suite Appearance