Bobby Labonte to compete in 2014 Daytona 500
December 17, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte will compete with Phoenix Racing in the 2014 Daytona 500, according to a news release from the team.
Labonte, the 2000 Cup champ, is without a full-time ride in the series for the upcoming season. He spent the last three seasons with JTG Daugherty Racing, but was replaced for a handful of races late in the year.
"I am grateful and excited to return to Daytona with Phoenix Racing," Labonte said. "The Daytona 500 is obviously a special event for everyone involved in the sport. I can't wait to get back in the car for my 22nd Daytona 500."
The 49-year-old has 21 career Cup wins, but none since 2003. He finished 34th in points this past season with 28 starts.
Former Phoenix Racing owner James Finch, chairman emeritus of the single-car organization, will be listed as the car owner. Businessman Harry Scott, who also owns a stake in Turner Scott Motorsports, purchased the team in 2013.
"James continues to be a valuable part of our team and when he came up with the idea of running Bobby in a second car, I jumped at the opportunity to bring him back into the fold," Scott said. "Bobby is a veteran driver that can also provide valuable insight and leadership for Phoenix Racing."
In 21 previous starts in the 500, Labonte has two top-five finishes, including a career best second-place finish in 1998.
Phoenix Racing, which debuted in 1990 with former driver Jeff Purvis, competed in only select events through 2010. It competed full-time in 2011 and '12 and made 26 starts this past season with the No. 51 Chevrolet.
The organization sports one career win, 2012 Cup champ Brad Keselowski's victory at Talladega Superspeedway in 2009.
According to the release, Labonte will compete in additional races for the team in '14. Those races, as well as sponsorship, the car number and crew chief, will be announced at a later date.
No driver has been officially announced for the team's No. 51 entry, although Steve Addington, former crew chief for Tony Stewart, has been named crew chief for that team.