Last week, JTG Daugherty Racing announced that Bobby Labonte would be sharing the seat of the No. 47 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with A.J. Allmendinger for the remainder of the 2013 season. Allmendinger is slated to be behind the wheel of the No. 47 for about five races throughout the rest of the season, beginning with Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. But Labonte won’t be without a ride at Michigan. He’ll climb into the No. 51 car for Phoenix Racing, the car Allmendinger has driven on a part-time basis, so far, this year.
The deal between Labonte and Phoenix Racing is a one-race deal, so there’s no work yet as to whether or not Labonte will have a ride for other races in which Allmendinger will be driving the No. 47.
“Racing for another team this weekend will be another process in helping me understand the development of the new car and how it compares to my current ride,” Labonte said. “I’m not happy with our current performance level as a team and absolutely want to work hard to help our race team improve. My commitment continues to give the best efforts possible each weekend. That has never changed and this opportunity will hopefully make everyone, including myself, get a better understanding of where improvements can be made. We just completed our first test at Kentucky, which was valuable time spent on the track, that should assist in improving our team performance starting this weekend and going forward.”
This weekend’s Michigan race won’t be the first for Labonte with the Phoenix organization. He made 14 starts, previously for the team.
“James has always been one of the first to reach out to offer help in a situation like this,” said Labonte. “I enjoy racing with Nick Harrison, Steve Barkdoll and the entire group of guys. I’m looking forward to this weekend.”
Labonte doesn’t, yet, have a deal to drive for anyone in 2014.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR