Blog Entry

Is Labonte headed to Earnhardt-Ganassi ?

Posted on: December 11, 2008 11:02 am
Edited on: December 11, 2008 11:17 am

The wheels of change continue in NASCAR as Bobby Labonte and Petty Enterprises have parted ways.

The leading rumor is that Labonte will land with the merged teams of DEI and Ganassi giving them a team of Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola, Juan Pablo Montoya and Bobby Labonte.

That sounds like a rock-solid lineup to me, sort of reminding me of what they have at RCR. Labonte in the role of Jeff Burton, Truex in the role of Kevin Harvick, Almirola as Clint Bowyer and Montoya as Casey Mears.

If they really work together I think this is a team that could make some noise. But first Labonte has to sign on the dotted line (and  I can't really imagine where else he would go). I think like Burton, the move could provide a second wind for Labonte, who has been wasting away at Petty Enterprises.

As for Petty Enterprises, this move seems like a forebearer to a merger with GEM, unless they fold altogether, which would really be quite sad. The rumor there is that only the 43 car would survive the merge with A.J. Allmendinger, who had a solid run as a fill-in in the 10 car over the final month of the season, getting the seat.

The GEM-Petty team would then have a lineup of Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and (possibly) Allmendinger. I can' t say I'm as impressed with that lineup as the merged Ganassi teams.

As always, stay tuned.


Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2008 3:26 pm

Is Labonte headed to Earnhardt-Ganassi?

Pete seems to think that Labonte could still wind up in the 43 car once Petty merges with GEM, although I personally think that's a longshot. I think GEM was impressed enough with Allmendinger to put him in the car.

As for your scenario, no doubt that would be a nice little team, I just don't think that Interstate Batteries has any interest in coming back as a primary sponsor with the economy in the toilet the way it is.

Because it does have an availabe sponsor in Target, the Earnhardt-Ganassi 41 car just seems logical stop. However, Almirola doesn't yet have an announced sponsor, so it could wind up there.

The NASCAR landscape is just a complete mess at the moment.

I still say franchising is the way to go so that sponsors know that they'll make the show week in and week out. I know that if I were at an exec at a leading company I'd wouldn't touch one of the smaller teams for fear of getting left out of the race. That would be like throwing money out the window and that's financial suicide, especially in this economy.

I can't believe so many companies were willing to roll the dice like that all these years.


Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2008 1:56 pm

Is Labonte headed to Earnhardt-Ganassi ?

First of all it is a sad day in NASCAR and will be even sadder to see the 43 car belonging to someone other than Petty Enterprises.  Question will NASCAR consider retiring the 43 with Richard Folding or selling his team?

Now for the question of Bobby,  While moving to EGR could be the savior for that team and Keeping Martin Truex there.  Here is another possibility.  That is Bobby ending back up with JGR.  Bobby could be the calming influence that organization needs and if Interstate Batteries were to come back on board then Bobby would have sponsorship, JGR would have it's fourth team as was speculated last season, and JGR would have a calming voice to deal with Hamlin, Kyle Bush and Lagono.  A influence that may be needed more than ever with 3 young "hot head" so to speak battling each other on the track.  And Brian, I think that would be a lot better lineup than either EGR or GEM could put together, even if they combined teams.

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