BOBBY LABONTE READY TO MASTER ATLANTA IN A NEW VEHICLE
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Even though Bobby Labonte has more wins than any other full-time driver at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he¿ll be a rookie on Friday, March 18.
That¿s when Bobby Labonte will return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series in the No. 47 Chevy All-Stars Silverado for the World Financial Group 200. As usual, he¿ll also be looking for another win in his No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in the March 20 Golden Corral 500 NEXTEL Cup race as well.
But Labonte was focused entirely on his Chevy truck on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, when he was preparing for his Craftsman Truck Series debut at the fast track. His first few laps didn¿t set any speed records, but Labonte said he was just getting warmed up when he turned a lap around the 1.54-mile speedway in 31.19 seconds (177.749 mph)
¿I¿m real excited,¿ Labonte said. ¿At night it¿s exciting for the fans and drivers. Under the lights, the speeds just look faster.¿
At the other end of the garage, Hendrick development driver Blake Feese was back in a Busch car for the first time since last October¿s Aaron¿s 312, when he finished 25th. Now one of two drivers rotating in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Busch car, Feese was pleased with his performance right off the truck.
His fastest lap, recorded early in the day, was 181.830 mph (30.49 seconds).
¿We were fast this morning,¿ Feese said. ¿It took a lap or two to build my confidence, but once you get it, it¿s back.¿
Feese signed on with Hendrick Motorsports as a development driver last year and has since then showcased his talent in a handful of ARCA races, including a win at Nashville last year in just his second series start. It wasn¿t long before Feese was signed on to share driving duties with Boston Reid for the 2005 Busch season.
¿By far this is the most amazing thing,¿ Feese said. ¿An opportunity like this is something I¿ve always dreamed of, and I know how hard it is to get to this level. So I¿m going to do everything I can to make the most of it.¿
Testing will continue into the night for Labonte and fellow Craftsman Truck driver Brad Keselowski as they prepare for the 9 p.m. start of the World Financial Group 200.
Great seats are still available for all three days of racing action. Weekend ticket packages start at just $65 and are limited in quanity. For more information call Ticketmaster, or the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, or visit www.AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com.