After missing races while recuperating from injuries sustained in a cycling accident, former Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte will be back in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“Having a few weeks off was not what I planned on doing, but I have healed up well,” Labonte said in a team release. “I am still sore in some places, but it could be a lot worse. I sat in the seat to feel comfortable. It seemed like everything went good.”
Labonte broke three ribs late last month in the accident near his home in North Carolina, but has been both working diligently and getting plenty of rest in advance of his return to competition.
“These weeks off, I have been really concentrating on rehab as far as my rib injury goes,” he said. “I have been working with machines to heal the bone and muscle faster.
“Dry needling has helped with getting the bruising down. I have been trying to work on those things more than anything else along with relaxing to get better.”
Labonte, who has raced most of 2013 for JTG Daugherty, was scheduled to drive for Phoenix Racing at Atlanta before his accident; his injuries forced Phoenix to tab Mike Bliss to drive the No. 51 for that particular race.
A.J. Allmendinger had already been slated to drive at Atlanta for JTG Daugherty, but was ultimately called in as a replacement in the No. 47 for Labonte at both Richmond and last weekend at Chicagoland.
Allmendinger will take over the No. 47 full-time beginning next season.
In the same team release, JTG Daugherty co-owner Brad Daugherty said the team was “concerned” about not wanting Labonte to get injured again, but is ready to give him their full support.
“If he says he’s ready to go, he’s ready,” he said.