Former Cup champ back after breaking ribs in bicycle accident
LOUDON, N.H. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Bobby Labonte, sidelined for three weeks due to injuries suffered in a bicycle crash, is back behind the wheel for this weekend's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Labonte suffered three broken ribs and a lung injury Aug. 28 when the front tire of his bicycle blew out.
"I was just on an hour ride and got a little … there were different heights of asphalt, it skimmed the front tire and blew the front out," Labonte said Saturday at NHMS.
"I went over the handlebars and landed on the road."
Labonte last competed Aug. 24 at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing 38th in the No. 47 Toyota of JTG Daugherty Racing. He did not compete at Atlanta, Richmond or last weekend at Chicago and is 36th in the points standings.
The injury shouldn't pose a problem here at NHMS, a flat 1-mile track, he said.
"I don't think it's quite as bad, because the way the seats are, you've got pressure (against head, shoulder and hip)," he said, "so it's all distributed evenly. It's not like the old days when you'd be in the car hanging on."
It only hurts, he said, "if I sneeze real hard.
"It's not bad at all. Whatever you can tolerate, I guess. I know a rib injury takes a while to heal; it's been three weeks. Last week I felt about like I feel right now, so no different."
Labonte will not be in the No. 47 next weekend at Dover, and it was announced earlier this season that AJ Allmendinger will replace him behind the wheel next year.
Labonte has 21 career wins in Cup and is the only driver to win both Cup and Nationwide Series titles. While he said he would like to continue racing, he said his 2014 plans were to be determined.
"There are a lot of things that probably have to happen around the sport that we might not have a lot of control over," he said. "We'll just see how things shake out and work on things at the same time."
Labonte won the 2000 Cup title while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Sunday's race at NHMS will be his 712th career start. He is also one of only 23 drivers to win at least one event in all three of NASCAR's major touring series -- Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the Camping World Truck series.
He is the younger brother of two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte.