Slugger Labbe to serve last race as Paul Menard’s crew chief this Sunday at Kansas

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Richard “Slugger” Labbe will step aside as Paul Menard’s crew chief, effective following this weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway.

Labbe will remain with Richard Childress Racing and take a leadership role in research and development, according to SportingNews.com.

Justin Alexander, who has served as race engineer for the No. 27 team, will assume his new role as Menard’s crew chief at Talladega.

“I’m looking forward to slowing down in my NASCAR career a little bit and spending more time with my family,” Labbe said in a team media release. “This is a good move for RCR, Paul and the No. 27 team and I’m going to be there to help Justin with the upcoming transition.

“With NASCAR’s new rules for 2015, this is a unique opportunity for me to help RCR grow and be successful by helping out with their R&D efforts.”

Labbe has been Menard’s crew chief since 2010. The pair combined to earn Menard’s first and only Sprint Cup victory in the 2011 Brickyard 400, as well as 13 top-10 and 43 top-10 finishes.

Menard is currently 20th in the Sprint Cup standings.

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Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.