Terry Labonte in for Daytona 500 at FAS Lane/Go Green joint operation

1 Comment

FAS Lane Racing, which fields the No. 32 Ford Fusion in the Sprint Cup Series, has entered into a joint venture with Go Green Racing and has brought in Terry Labonte to drive for them at the Daytona 500 in February.

Go Green Racing raced with multiple drivers last year in the Nationwide Series, including Jeffrey Earnhardt, the grandson of seven-time Sprint Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

“Frank has a great program here at FAS Lane Racing and we believe that by combining our resources, we can take the program to the next level,” said Archie St. Hilaire, Go Green’s owner.

“It’s been my goal to race in the Sprint Cup Series on a weekly basis and this joint venture makes the most sense for both parties.”

Frank Stoddard, team owner at FAS Lane, said that the partnership with St. Hilaire’s team would allow him to focus on growing the small team on the business side of things.

“I have spread myself too thin with my multiple roles over the past three seasons,” said Stoddard. “We will both be able to work harder with our existing sponsors as well as the many new ones we look forward to working with.”

As for Labonte, the two-time Cup champion was one of four drivers that helped the No. 32 finish 37th in Cup owner’s points this past season. Labonte himself ran five races in the car with a top finish of 19th at Daytona in the Coke Zero 400.

He, along with the other drivers that will compete in the No. 32 (which will be revealed in the coming weeks according to the team), will have Dan Stillman as crew chief.

Stillman served in the same capacity this past season for driver German Quiroga and Red Horse Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.