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Tag:Bobby Labonte
Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:07 pm
 

Positive outlook for JTG Daugherty

By Pete Pistone

CHARLOTTE - While on track success stories have been few and far between, JTG Daugherty Racing remains optimistic about what lies ahead.

The single car Toyota team returns veteran Bobby Labonte as its driver this season, who is now paired with crew chief Todd Berrier formerly of Richard Childress Racing. The two have already formed a solid relationship in a brief period of time and Labonte believes their veteran presence as well as management's continued support will be beneficial to improving the team's performance.

“It’s got its pros and cons," Labonte said of being a solo car effort going against the mammoth multi-car operations.  "It’s definitely not going to be easy, but there are a lot of things that we can do as a small team thatwill make some differences.  The great support of Toyota and their facility and what they give us is like being a part of a bigorganization.

"It’s just now that Tad (Geschickter, team owner), Jodi (Geschickter, team owner) and Brad (Daugherty, teamowner) have to put the funding into it to make that happen.  There are a lot of good things with that and I think that’s a plusfor us.  With a small group -- everybody has to pull their weight.  I do believe there is a challenge for us, but at the same time we’ll have to hit everything right and if we do then we’ll have more success than not."

Berrier spent his entire career with RCR, one of the sport's powerhouse organizations. But now he moves to the smaller-sized JTG team and admits the transition has taken some time.

However he is enthused about the resources and support he has at his disposal.

“I’ve been a part of things smaller than this up to things larger than this," Berrier said.  "It is cool to know that we do have a small group ofpeople and we all impact it a lot.  If one person lays out of work today -- everybody is going to have to work five minutes tomake it up.  Before, when you grow these things into monsters, you can have 10 people lay out and you didn’t even knowanybody was missing.  The only thing different is that we have resources and pretty much the same resources -- I think withToyota and their backing and the things they support us with, it’s no different than what I’ve been used to."

If all pans out, JTG Daugherty will expand to a two-car effort next season and in fact may field a second entry in selected races this year.

Labonte says the best way to reach that goal is to perform in 2012 and is encouraged by the propsects.

"I think every Sunday -- no differentthan any other team, we’ll give it our best and have some races that we know we will have more confidence going into," he said.  "All in all it’s going to be a great way to build our race team into a bigger team next year as well.” 


 
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Posted on: December 9, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Team Review/Preview: JTG Daugherty

By Pete Pistone


Image Detail
(Bobby Labonte replaced Marcos Ambrose in the No. 47 car last season but the team still struggled during the year)


Review


Veteran Bobby Labonte took the reigns of the JTG Daugherty ride on a full-time basis in 2011 with the hope of bringing the team to the next level of competition.

Unfortunately even Labonte’s experience behind the wheel couldn’t help the organization improve on its 2010 effort and a myriad of mechanical issues and engine woes were the main culprits for the team’s mediocre performance. 

Labonte finished twenty ninth in the final Sprint Cup Series point standings and recorded one top five and a couple of top tens along the way. 

The highlight of the campaign came at the season-opening Daytona 500, where Labonte finished fourth and ran in the front of the pack most of the afternoon. Despite the solid finish, Labonte was disappointed after the race. 

“It means a lot and people may criticize me for not laughing or smiling enough, but I am disappointed we didn’t win this Daytona 500,” Labonte said.  “That’s going to bother me probably for a little bit. I’m proud of the team because they did a great job today.  We battled back from a near spin over there and we got a top-five out of it.  Today was such a wild day.  It was just a little bit too wild at times so to survive here today, I think it was a big thing.”

Unfortunately the performance did not set the tone for the rest of the campaign. Labonte struggled to find any consistency and the rash of engine misfortunes didn’t help the cause for the No. 47 Toyota entry. 

“It’s been frustrating at times for sure,” said Labonte. “Our relationship with Toyota has been a good one but overall the entire company has had these engine challenges whether it be us, MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing), Gibbs or whoever. Hopefully we can get this rectified and have a better full season next year and not have to worry about motor problems along with other things.”

 

Preview

Labonte will enter the new season with pretty much a completely overhauled race team. 

Although JTG Daugherty will remain in the Toyota camp and continue its alliance with MWR, the organization has moved into its own facility and no longer shares space with Waltrip’s operation.

"I think what we gain, and what's been very import to us, is our own identity," co-owner Brad Daugherty said. "It's tough. It hurts almost to be called a satellite team, or Michael Waltrip's stepchild, or all that kind of stuff. Because we're our own race team. So it's important to us, because we spend a lot of money on this, we work hard to be the best product we can. So we get our identity back." 

There will also be a new crew chief and team general manager calling the shots with veteran Todd Berrier, a former Richard Childress Racing staple, replacing Frankie Kerr to come on board to call the shots. 

“Todd Berrier is a winner, pure and simple,” Daugherty said. “He is innovative, an effective communicator, great with race cars and knows how to use the resources available to him to optimize performance. We are confident that he is the right individual to lead our race team into the future.”

As for the engine issues that plagued the effort in 2011, JTG Daugherty is confident remaining with Toyota and working closer with TRD (Toyota Racing Development) on the program will reap benefits.

“Toyota has been a great partner to us in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series,” stated co-owner Tad Geschickter. “They provide tremendous resources through TRD’s chassis engineering group in Salisbury, N.C. and we intend to fully utilize the tools that they provide to improve our performance as we move forward in 2012 and beyond.”

The revamp of the team has Labonte thinking positively and optimistically for the coming campaign.

“I like the plan that this team has in place and if you look at the choices I’ve made throughout my career, you can tell that I have always enjoyed the challenge of building up a team,” Labonte said. “We have some people with proven success coming to work with us and we plan to capitalize on that along with the technical resources of Toyota. We’ve had some limited success this year and we are focused on improving and continuing to build our program. I am looking forward to a successful 2012.”
 

Outlook

While the changes in management as well as moving out from under the shadow of MWR are encouraging, JTG Daugherty still faces an uphill battle to contend for wins or a Chase berth next season. The successful outings last year were too sporadic to provide any indication the team is ready to take a step forward in the Sprint Cup Series pecking order. Labonte and Berrier bring an experienced combination to the track every week and the enthusiasm over Toyota finally getting the engine misfortunes straightened out is most certainly good news. But JTG Daugherty seems destined to remain a middle of the pack organization at best in 2012.

CHECK OUT MORE POSTS FROM OUR 2011 TEAM REVIEW/2012 PREVIEW SERIES 

 
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Posted on: October 25, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 6:03 pm
 

Michael Waltrip Racing teams penalized

Posted by Pete Pistone

NASCAR issues penalties against Michael Waltrip Racing and its satellite organization JTG Daugherty Racing on Tuesday for unapproved windshields uncovered during last weekend's racing at Talladega Superspeedway.

In addition to 25 point penalties assessed to drivers David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr. and Bobby Labonte, crew chiefs Rodney Childers, Frank Kerr and Chad Johnson were each fined $50,000 and suspended for the remaining four races of the season:

From News Release

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2011) – NASCAR has issued penalties to the No. 00, No. 47 and No. 56 teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during opening day inspection Oct. 21 at Talladega Superspeedway.   All three cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-3.2.1A (unapproved modification to an approved windshield) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book.   Crew chiefs Rodney Childers (No. 00), Frank Kerr (No. 47) and Chad Johnston (No. 56) have each been fined $50,000 and have been suspended from the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events and suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 23. Car chiefs Steve Channing (No. 00), Raymond Fox (No. 47) and Anthony Lunders (No. 56) have likewise been suspended from the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events and suspended from NASCAR until Nov. 23. Additionally, Bobby Kennedy, director of competition for Michael Waltrip Racing, has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.   Car owners Rob Kauffman (No. 00), Tad Geschickter (No. 47), and Michael Waltrip (No. 56) have each been penalized with the loss of 25 championship owner points. Drivers David Reutimann (No. 00), Bobby Labonte (No. 47), and Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56) have each been penalized with the loss of 25 championship driver points.  

Michael Waltrip Racing released this statement in response to the penalties:

“Michael Waltrip Racing is ultra-sensitive and very serious about working within the guidelines of NASCAR policy. We do not condone this type of activity and as such we will take appropriate internal corrective action immediately. We thank NASCAR for providing a fair and equitable platform for all of its competitors and respect its decisions; therefore, we will not appeal.” 

The following team personnel moves will take effect until NASCAR reinstates the suspended crew members:

No. 56 Team

-          Veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will serve as interim crew chief in place of suspended crew chief Chad Johnston at Martinsville

-          Allen Mincey, No. 56 race mechanic, will serve as interim car chief in place of suspended car chief Tony Lunders

No. 00 Team

-          Bobby Kennedy, executive vice president of race operations, will serve as interim crew chief in place of Rodney Childers

-          Chris Hall, No. 00 race mechanic, will serve as interim car chief in place of suspended car chief Steve Channing 

Both crew and car chiefs will return to their positions following their suspensions.


   
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Posted on: October 23, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: October 23, 2011 11:27 am
 

JTG Daugherty announces 2012 plans

By Pete Pistone

JTG Daugherty Racing will split from Michael Waltrip Racing and move into its own race shop as part of the team's plan for 2012.

Bobby Labonte will return to drive the No. 47 Toyota as the team stays with the same manufacturer it campaigned for this year but veteran crew chief Todd Berrier will move in as crew chief and team general manager. Labonte's current crew chief Frank Kerr will become shop foreman in the reorganization.

Berrier most recently served at crew chief for Jeff Burton at Richard Childress Racing.

“Todd Berrier is a winner, pure and simple,” team co-owner Brad Daugherty said. “He is innovative, an effective communicator, great with race cars and knows how to use the resources available to him to optimize performance.

“We are confident that he is the right individual to lead our race team into the future.”

Labonte comes into Sunday's Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway 29th in points. The former Sprint Cup Series champion likes the directtion of the team including the addition of Berrier and moving back into its own facility, which the operation will share with the Wood Brothers.

“I like the plan that this team has in place and if you look at the choices I’ve made throughout my career, you can tell that I have always enjoyed the challenge of building up a team,” Labonte said. “We have some people with proven success coming to work with us and we plan to capitalize on that along with the technical resources of Toyota. We’ve had some limited success this year and we are focused on improving and continuing to build our program. I am looking forward to a successful 2012.”
 

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Posted on: October 20, 2010 11:35 pm
 

RPM gives Kahne the boot

On Saturday night Kasey Kahne walked out on his No. 9 team after a crash at Charlotte, saying he was too sick to get back behind the wheel of his damaged car.

On Wednesday, Richard Petty Motorsports told him to keep on walking.

Kahne was already set to leave at season's end, driving for Red Bull Racing next year before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. However, with his early release, he will get head start on his relationship with Red Bull, jumping into the No. 83 car this weekend at Martinsville.

Aric Almirola , who was originally scheduled to fill the No. 83 seat at Martinsville, will instead take Kahne's place in the No. 9 car.

This shakeup could set more dominos in motion, possibly paving the way for Marcos Ambrose to arrive early if JTG Daugherty will grant him his release. Ambrose was signed as Kahne's replacement in the No. 9 car for next season.

And if JTG does allow Ambrose to leave, his replacement for next year, Bobby Labonte , could then jump into the No. 47.

-- Brian De Los Santos
Posted on: October 11, 2010 10:49 am
 

Catching up with crew chief changes


This weekend at California, Kasey Kahne and crew chief Kenny Francis both confirmed that Francis would be joining Kahne at Red Bull next season.

Whether Francis follows Kahne to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 is less clear.

Over at JTG/Daugherty, the Sporting News is reporting that Frank Kerr will work as Bobby Labonte's crew chief when Labonte joins the organization as the replacement for Marcos Ambrose in 2011.

And finally, Donnie Wingo has joined the Wood Brothers, replacing David Hyder , who left the team last week. Wingo lost his job as crew chief for David Ragan last month. Hyder told FoxSports.com that he's seeking a position with a team that runs full-time.

Posted on: July 28, 2010 10:45 am
Edited on: July 28, 2010 2:23 pm
 

Labonte to replace Ambrose at JTG in 2011


While Bobby Labonte may be somewhat of a nomad this season, he'll have a more permananent home next year. JTG Daugherty has signed the 2000 Cup Series champion to driver the No. 47 car, which will be vacated by Marcos Ambrose at season's end.

Labonte started the season with TRG Motorsports, but when they began to have him start and park, he opted out of his contract. Aside from TRG, he has also driven for Robby Gordon Motorsports and Phoenix Racing this year. His schedule for the remainder of the season appears somewhat murky, though he is scheduled to return to TRG for at least four races. He's a good pick-up because he holds a past champion's provisional.

“JTG Daugherty Racing is a solid race team that has come close to winning races with Marcos Ambrose and I’m looking forward to developing our new partnership in 2011,” Labonte said. “The team is thriving and their technical alliance with MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) is intact. It’s great to have next year already set in stone so when this season ends we can begin focusing on next year right away. Everything is in place and we have all the right ingredients to win races together.”

Labonte hasn't enjoyed much success the second half of the decade. Since 2005, his best finish in the standings is 18th (2007). In the past four seasons he has a total of seven top 10s. He has not won a Cup race since 2003. After leaving Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2005 season, he spent three years in the No. 43 car for Petty Enterprises. Last year he drove for Hall of Fame Racing/Yates Racing and TRG.

The rumor mill continues to strongly link Ambrose with Richard Petty Motorsports.

-- Brian De Los Santos

Posted on: July 21, 2010 11:08 am
 

Labonte, TRG to team up again

While he may have severed his contract with TRG Motorsports earlier this season, Bobby Labonte isn't totally through driving the No. 71 car.

Labonte has agreed to drive TRG's No. 71 car in at least four more races -- Pocono (Aug. 1), Michigan (Aug. 15), Atlanta (Sept. 5), and Texas (Nov. 7).
 
 
 
 
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