Allmendinger to drive No. 47 at Chicagoland
September 09, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Bobby Labonte will miss his third straight race because of broken ribs sustained in a bicycle crash, meaning AJ Allmendinger will once again be behind the wheel of the No. 47 car this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.
JTG Daugherty Racing confirmed Monday that Allmendinger would drive the team's entry in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series event at Chicagoland Speedway. Labonte has been out since Aug. 28, when he broke three ribs cycling near his home in Trinity, N.C., and was hospitalized overnight.
"For me, it's a tough situation," Allmendinger said. "I do not want to get more races with the team because someone is injured. Bobby is a guy that I believe is a Hall of Famer and he is a champion. It's tough to have that type of injury. Hopefully, he gets better as soon as possible."
The 2000 champion of NASCAR's premier division also missed starts at Atlanta and Richmond due to the injury. Last week, Labonte expressed hopes of returning for the Chicago race, but that comeback has been pushed back.
Allmendinger finished 15th filling in for Labonte last week at Richmond. The California native has made five total starts in the vehicle, with a best result of 10th at Watkins Glen, and will drive the No. 47 car full-time beginning next season.
Earlier this year, JTG Daugherty put Allmendinger in the No. 47 car for comparative purposes, a move that ended Labonte's streak of 704 consecutive starts on the sport's top level.
“I feel better every day,” Labonte said. “My ribs still hurt and that’s something that takes time. I figure with the way things are, another week is not that big of a deal. It gives me another week to heal up. Obviously, the plan now is to get back in the car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which is a good track and I look forward to going back there. With my goal being Loudon, it gives me another 10 days to prepare for that. It’s better to wait another 10 days.”