Terry Labonte Racing? How about Labonte Brothers Racing?
Both have a pretty nice ring to them, don’t they?
And one of those names or something similar could soon become reality amid a report by The Associated Press on Thursday that two-time Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte may be interested in purchasing Phoenix Racing from current owner James Finch.
Finch is looking to sell his team before he’s forced to shut it down permanently due to lack of funding and sponsorship.
And one of the potential suitors to purchase the team is the elder Labonte brother.
“James been trying to sell that thing for a long time and Terry told me about it,” younger brother Bobby Labonte said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, where he was preparing for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400. “I hope Terry can do it.”
While it’s unlikely at this point that Bobby would join Terry as a co-owner, there’s no question that the elder brother is giving the purchase a great deal of thought.
“I think Terry would like to do it, but you’ve got to get money to feed the cow,” Bobby Labonte said.
There reportedly are at least two other individuals interested in buying the team, according to the AP report: Harry Scott, co-owner of Nationwide Series team Turner Scott Motorsports, and an unidentified potential buyer.
Terry Labonte was apparently not available for comment.
While Finch has had difficulty getting enough funding to keep the team operational and competitive, he has some of the best cars and equipment available, purchased or leased from Hendrick Motorsports.
That in itself would be a significant lure to anyone seeking to purchase the team’s assets and equipment.
Terry Labonte, 56, stopped racing full-time after the 2004 season, but has continued to run a limited part-time Sprint Cup schedule, including three of the 17 races held thus far in 2013.
But having a team to call his own may be a lure the Corpus Christi, Texas native can’t resist.
“I think he has a good feeling about things, about people,” Bobby Labonte said. “He enjoys it. He enjoys racing.
“You may not look at him and think that, but he likes being a part of successful things and helping people out, whether it’s having 20 employees or having a successful business. That’s just how he is.”
Terry Labonte won the then-Winston Cup championship in 1984 and 1996. He has 22 career wins in the Cup series and has earned nearly $45 million in 36 years and 884 race starts on the Cup circuit. Bobby Labonte won the Winston Cup crown in 2000 and has 21 wins in 706 starts over 22 years on the Cup circuit.
Could younger brother Bobby potentially drive for his older brother? That certainly seems like an intriguing possibility, especially since Bobby Labonte will miss up to five races this season for JTG Daugherty Racing as A.J. Allmendinger fills in to give the team a different driver perspective and input. Labonte did not race in last week’s event at Kentucky Speedway, breaking a streak of 704 consecutive starts, second-longest among active drivers behind Jeff Gordon’s 706 consecutive starts.
With Bobby Labonte in the last season of his current contract with JTG Daugherty, working for his brother may not be a bad idea. But the younger Labonte hedged about the possibility.
“That might be a little tough because we are different in a lot of ways,” Bobby Labonte said of racing for his brother. “He would do anything he could to help me, just like I’d do anything to help him. But there’s more to it than that.”