Even with a move to the #47 Toyota Camry at JTG Racing former NASCAR Champion Bobby Labonte will not be a regular contender in 2011. Labonte was able to move to the #47 car after current driver Marcos Ambrose opted to leave for Richard Petty Motorsports.
Oddly enough it was Labonte who was racing for Yates Racing in 2009 which merged with Petty Motorsports and in turn pushed Labonte to a tenure at TRG.
It’s been years since Labonte was last a regular force and even in 2005, his last year with Joe Gibbs Racing, he was more of an after thought. His last win came in 2003 at Homestead when it was still called the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Since that win he’s responded with 13 top-5’s in 236 races. He’s led a total of 205 laps or 292 less laps led then in that 2003 season.
When Bobby Labonte moved to Petty Enterprises to drive the #43 car instantly everyone in the announcers booth proclaimed he would be back and would be a chase contender, most notably Darrel Waltrip.
Things didn’t happen that way. Sure Labonte’s equipment wasn’t as good at Petty but it’s not as if he had burned the tires off the car during his last two years at Gibbs Racing either. After some time at Petty he went to Yates Racing and when sponsorship dollars weren’t there the team opted to replace him with a developmental driver at Atlanta. A track Labonte had won 6 times and finished twice on two other occasions.
In total Labonte raced seven events int he #71 car including the last four of the season.
While the equipment drop off may be a viable excuse it’s also concerning that Lab
onte has show little to no signs that he