Tag:Bobby Labonte
Posted on: January 14, 2009 11:40 am

The curious case of Earnhardt-Ganassi

What is going on at the supposed merged operations of Earnhardt and Ganassi?

In the two months since the announcement that the two organizations were merging, there has been very little information forthcoming. Where's the direction?

When Bobby Labonte was released by Petty Enterprises after the season, everybody assumed he was headed to Earnhardt-Ganassi. In a previous blog I remarked that it seemed like the perfect fit, sort of like what RCR has with Jeff Burton.

As late as Tuesday morning, it appeared EGR was finally about to sign him on the dotted line with multiple reports that EGR was going to put him in the 8 car and shift Aric Almirola to the 41 car.

By Tuesday night he was the new driver of the 96 car for Hall of Fame Racing.

Ummm, what?

Reportedly Labonte was on his way to a lunch meeting on Tuesday with EGR to work out the final details when HOF swooped in.

Is EGR that much of a mess? Or did Labonte just grow tired of getting the runaround? HOF accomplished in a matter of hours what EGR couldn't get done over several weeks.

The merger between Earnhardt and Ganassi was supposed to save the two teams, but it's definitely not off to a very good start.

Posted on: December 11, 2008 11:02 am
Edited on: December 11, 2008 11:17 am

Is Labonte headed to Earnhardt-Ganassi ?

The wheels of change continue in NASCAR as Bobby Labonte and Petty Enterprises have parted ways.

The leading rumor is that Labonte will land with the merged teams of DEI and Ganassi giving them a team of Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola, Juan Pablo Montoya and Bobby Labonte.

That sounds like a rock-solid lineup to me, sort of reminding me of what they have at RCR. Labonte in the role of Jeff Burton, Truex in the role of Kevin Harvick, Almirola as Clint Bowyer and Montoya as Casey Mears.

If they really work together I think this is a team that could make some noise. But first Labonte has to sign on the dotted line (and  I can't really imagine where else he would go). I think like Burton, the move could provide a second wind for Labonte, who has been wasting away at Petty Enterprises.

As for Petty Enterprises, this move seems like a forebearer to a merger with GEM, unless they fold altogether, which would really be quite sad. The rumor there is that only the 43 car would survive the merge with A.J. Allmendinger, who had a solid run as a fill-in in the 10 car over the final month of the season, getting the seat.

The GEM-Petty team would then have a lineup of Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and (possibly) Allmendinger. I can' t say I'm as impressed with that lineup as the merged Ganassi teams.

As always, stay tuned.

Posted on: October 14, 2008 10:22 am
Edited on: October 14, 2008 10:23 am

The pink schemes

In support of Breast Cancer Awareness month and the Susan G. Komen Foundation -- to learn more or make a donation, visit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website -- three cars sported pink schemes during Saturday night's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway -- Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte and Elliott Sadler.

I thought Busch's scheme looked sharp (though it came across as more purple than pink) and Labonte's wasn't too bad either. Here are photos of the three cars courtesty Getty Images


Posted on: May 3, 2008 4:28 pm

List of candidates for RCR dwindles

A few weeks ago, a couple of reports said Bobby Labonte was signed, sealed and delivered to the fourth team Richard Childress Racing. It made sense because RCR had signed General Mills, Labonte's current sponsor on the 43 car at Petty Enterprises, as the new cars sponsor.

But today, AP is reporting that Labonte has agreed to an extension with Petty Enterprises. Neither Labonte or officials with Petty confirmed the report.

I'm thinking that this will bear out and Labonte will remain with Petty. So just who will man the seat of the fourth RCR car?

Carl Edwards came off the market Friday, and if you believe Greg Biffle, he has every intention of re-signing with Roush as well, going so far as to say he's not even looking elsewhere.

I can believe it. RCR is probably the only team that can offer him an immediate chance to win besides Roush. But if he switched teams, he'd be under the gun the first five races to qualify on speed. I don't think that's a position he wants to be in because you can never account for weather. Unless the money is absolutely out of this world -- and I don't think it would be for Biffle's services -- he's in the best situation he can be in right now.

Now I gotta believe that Tony Stewart is at the very top of RCR's wish list. I think RCR is in a good position to offer him an intriguing package, but I'm sure Stewart will have plenty of similar offers. And there's also the little problem of whether Gibbs would let him out of his ride early. So while Stewart is intriguing, there are several hoops to jump through.

The next  best free-agent on the market is Ryan Newman. He has been linked to RCR in past rumors. Despite his Daytona 500 victory, he hasn't had the season he'd hoped for thus far. He has been with Penske for his entire nine-year Cup career, so there's some loyalty there, but a change of scenery might do him well just like it did Jeff Burton. He'd have to qualify on speed the first five races. But barring weather, that wouldn't be much of a problem for him because he's one of the best qualifiers in the series.

If Childress were to go a little younger that could put a driver like Reed Sorenson into the mix. Ganassi hasn't kept secret his disappointment with all his Cup teams' results this season. It's not that I think Ganassi wants to get rid of Sorenson, but if things don't turn around, he definitely could go in a different direction. I'm not quite sure where Sorenson's contract stands. He could choose to leave of his own volition and if RCR offers him a deal he should jump. Though I know they're working hard there, Ganassi Racing still has yet to show it's a top tier Cup operation.

David Ragan could be a target if Roush drags his feet while trying to decide who should stay between him and Jamie McMurray with the four-team limit nearing. Accoding to Jayski, Ragan's contract is up at the end of the year as is sponsor AAA. So the Roush operation has a lot of contract details to work out.

Scott Wimmer is doing part-time work for RCR in the Nationwide Series and select Cup races. Considering the lack of a full-time Nationwide ride for Wimmer, I don't see him getting a full-time Cup gig.


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