Sunday was a good day for Bobby Labonte and the JTG Daugherty Racing team because they departed Martinsville Speedway with their best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish of the season (ninth-place), which gives them a shot in the arm for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.
“We finished in the top-10 at Martinsville,” Labonte said. “Every time we hit the track, we felt good about our changes and the ones we didn’t feel good about we put back. We qualified 18th. We fell back once with a long green flag run. It was a good run for us and the pit crew did a good job. We didn’t have any flaws. Everything went smooth. We’re ready to continue our momentum at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday.”
The Texas native’s No. 47 Toyota Camry is carrying a special camouflage scheme with a distinct purpose to raise awareness for Wounded Warrior Project. Wounded Warrior Project raises awareness and enlists the public’s aid for the needs of injured servicemen and women. It also helps injured service members aid and assist each other and provides unique, direct programs, and services to meet their needs.
“It’s definitely an organization we want to be a part of and The Clorox Company is letting us place Wounded Warrior Project on our Toyota Camry at Texas,” Labonte said. “We want to continue to help raise awareness. It’s near and dear to our hearts. Tens of thousands of Wounded Warriors and caregivers receive support each year through Wounded Warrior Project programs. Visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org for more information on how you can help.”
As Labonte helps spread the word about Wounded Warrior Project, there is word being spread around the garage about him returning to JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Toyota Camry next season.
“There’s a hand shake and a fist pump and all that stuff that goes with that,” Labonte said. “All in all, that’s what we’ve been planning to do the whole time. At the same time, you make sure they have all their sponsors in place and the shops in place and all the things are lining up with the race team. With Bobby Hutchens coming on board, there is a lot of confirmation of some thoughts that might have not been there a few months ago.
“It just puts you in a direction so everybody sits down and says okay now we have a direction to go in,” Labonte continued. “We feel confident that we all agree upon what we want to do and how much we want to help each other out to accomplish all the goals we have set in front of us. We have a lot of work to do. We want build their race team and be a part of it when it becomes a bigger and better team one day. Hutchens has played a big role in all of that.”
Hutchens has indeed made an impact on the JTG Daugherty Racing organization.
“I can’t say enough about Bobby Hutchens,” Labonte said. “He is a point of direction for us. The point man you might say. He makes sure that we cross our t’s and dot our i’s. He helps put things in place like making sure schedules are done, cars are done and the guys don’t have to work too late. It’s just molding what we’ve got and making sure we have the right recipe. For instance, making sure the car for Texas is ready a week and a half ahead instead of two nights before and making sure we have the detail stuff taken care of and the guys are leaving the shop at reasonable hour. There’s not a firestorm and it is pretty calm at our shop. It’s showing off in our performance. We are using the tools and resources we have to the best of our ability. It’s feels good to have good management in place and personalities are getting along. The atmosphere is really good right now.”