UPDATE, 6:00 p.m. ET: This weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be the first without a Labonte since 1978. Bobby Labonte confirmed on the JTG Daugherty Racing website that he won’t race in Kentucky this Saturday night.
The younger Labonte to Corpus Christi’s “Texas Terry,” the two-time Cup champion, began racing in Cup full-time in 1993. JTG Daugherty has sought Allmendinger’s input and opinion on its car and is providing him another start in that car.
1:00 p.m. ET: One streak came to an end in a good way on Sunday when Martin Truex Jr. snapped a 200-plus race winless streak. One other streak appears set to end this Saturday night in Kentucky: Bobby Labonte’s consecutive starts streak.
The 2000 NASCAR Cup champion isn’t listed in either of the cars he’s driven this year. AJ Allmendinger makes his second start in Labonte’s normal No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota, with Austin Dillon taking the reins of the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet.
Labonte’s streak of 704 consecutive starts began with the 1993 Daytona 500. He sits only 30th in the points standings this year, without a top-10 finish.
Ricky Rudd holds the all-time consecutive start streak record at 788. Jeff Gordon has one more consecutive start than does Labonte, with 705 entering this weekend’s Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts.
SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.
McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.
Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.
Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.
Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.
“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.
“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”
Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.