NASCAR: Bobby Labonte replaces brother Terry at GoFAS Racing for superspeedways

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With two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Terry Labonte now officially retired, Go FAS Racing has tabbed another Labonte to replace him.

Bobby Labonte, Terry’s brother and a former Cup champion himself, will drive the No. 32 C&J Energy Solutions Ford in all four superspeedway races next season – the Daytona 500 in February, Talladega 500 in May, Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July, and GEICO 500 at Talladega in October.

GoFAS Racing is co-owned by NASCAR on NBC analyst and longtime Cup crew chief Frank Stoddard, as well as Maine-based businessman Archie St. Hilaire.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to go racing next season with GoFAS Racing and C&J,” Bobby Labonte said in a release. “The people at C&J are good friends of our family, and like me, have a passion for the sport. I want to thank them, along with Frank and Archie for allowing me the opportunity to take over where my brother left off.”

In his own thoughts, Stoddard expressed his confidence that the team can continue to grow with the help of Bobby’s veteran presence.

“…We had an outstanding finish in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last July with Terry, and we look forward to continuing those strong results with Bobby,” he said. “We have a busy off-season to get ready for 2015, but everyone is excited about what the season holds for us.”

In addition to Labonte, the team plans to run road racing veteran Boris Said for the two Sprint Cup road races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen per the Bangor (Maine) Daily News. Several other young drivers are also being considered to join the team for the other events.

“I would rather have one driver for the whole season but Bobby didn’t want to commit for the whole year and Boris just does road courses,” Archie St. Hilaire explained to the Daily News. “[Having a lot of drivers] works for us, money-wise.”

His son, team general manager Mason St. Hilaire, adds: “We love giving young drivers and their families the chance to live out their dreams. That’s one of the most gratifying parts of the job. And the veteran drivers help us, points-wise, so we can keep going with young drivers.”

The Daily News also reports that Stoddard will serve as Bobby Labonte’s crew chief for the four superspeedway events.

Terry Labonte’s best finish last year for GoFAS was an 11th-place effort in the Coke Zero 400. He decided to hang up his helmet following a 33rd-place finish in the fall at Talladega.

‘One and Only’ Kyle Larson wins Outlaws opener at Knoxville Raceway

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Paul Arch/World of Outlaws
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The magic of dirt racing wins for Kyle Larson continued Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway, where he scored his third consecutive World of Outlaws victory at the famed half-mile track to open “The One and Only.”

After starting 10th, Larson sliced through the field and passed pole-sitter Logan Schuchart to lead the final eight laps in the No. 57 of car owner Paul Silva.

“Just an awesome race,” Larson said after earning $10,000 for his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory (after winning at Pevely, Missouri, last Saturday), his sixth Outlaws victory this season and 14th of his career.

LARSON ON NASCAR‘I’d love an opportunity if it came’

“I was able to track Logan down and hit the bottom really well in (turns) 1 and 2 and got a run on him.  It felt like I needed to take advantage of that before we got to heavier traffic and slid him and felt some contact. So, glad to see him not in the wall or anything like that. Just, hard work there. Heartbeat is up again.”

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson scored his sixth World of Outlaws victory Thursday (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

It was the fourth Knoxville victory this year for Larson, who swept a World of Outlaws doubleheader weekend June 12-13 at the Sprint Car Captial of the World. He has more than 30 victories this year in sprint cars and midgets.

The One and Only continues Friday night with another $10,000 feature race that will set the starting lineup for Saturday’s Brownells Capitani Classic, which pays $50,000 to win.

The event is the Outlaws’ richest purse of 2020 and subs in for the annual Knoxville Nationals, which was canceled for COVID-19 concerns. Larson, a two-time Knoxville Nationals runner-up, has said winning The One and Only would be on the same as Knoxville’s signature event because of its tough three-day format.

Through the first of three nights, Schuchart and Larson are tied for second in The One and Only points standings, which factor in qualifying, heats, dash and feature races. Aaron Reutzel, an All Star Circuit of Champions stalwart who finished third Thursday, leads with 430 points.

A crash in Thursday’s 25-lap feature eliminated past Outlaws champions Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz after Cory Eliason spun in front of Sweet in Turn 1 to start the wreck, which also collected Sweet’s teammate, James McFadden. Sweet and Schatz finished outside the top 20, which moved Schuchart into the points lead for the 2020 season.

Schuchart still seemed slightly miffed after finishing second to Larson.

“As the race went on, I felt like I wasn’t hitting my marks as good,” he said. “I would have liked to of had a little bit better of a race with Kyle there. I wish his slide job was a little better there, but he’s got a reputation to live up to. That’s where you let other people make the rules and maybe we’ll get him next time.”


RESULTS

NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [10]; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [1]; 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel [2]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [24]; 5. 41-David Gravel [6]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [7]; 7. 71-Spencer Bayston [3]; 8. 18-Gio Scelzi [15]; 9. 12N-Joey Saldana [5]; 10. 5-Ian Madsen [19]; 11. 17A-Austin McCarl [21]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen [11]; 13. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [16]; 14. 7S-Jason Sides [20]; 15. 24-Rico Abreu [22]; 16. 4-Terry McCarl [13]; 17. 2KS-Brooke Tatnell [18]; 18. O9-Matt Juhl [23]; 19. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [25]; 20. 83-Daryn Pittman [9]; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser [17]; 22. 15-Donny Schatz [8]; 23. 26-Cory Eliason [4]; 24. 49-Brad Sweet [12]; 25. 9-James McFadden [14]; Lap Leaders: Logan Schuchart 1-17, Kyle Larson 18-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 2-Carson Macedo[+20]

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson celebrated with his family and team after the first night of The One and Only (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).