Go Fas Racing announced Wednesday that former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte will drive the No. 32 C&J Energy Ford beginning in 2015 during the 57th running of the Daytona 500.
Labonte, an established veteran of the sport, hasn’t had the most success in recent years. He has also contemplated the fact of retirement due to the lack of quality rides available in the Sprint Cup Series. A step down to what is was formally the NASCAR Nationwide Series, now Xfinity Series has always been an option but has not been announced.
Labonte only ran three races during the entire 2014 Sprint Cup season. In 2015, Labonte will run the 500 as well as the summer Daytona race. In addition, the only other races confirmed on his schedule are the two-restrictor plate races at Talladega.
While taking over the vacated seat from brother Terry, Labonte will look to better Terry’s results on the plate tracks. "I'm excited for the opportunity to go racing next season with GoFAS Racing and C&J," said Labonte.
Labonte, who is now 50, has potential for success at the plate tracks. He has one career win on plate tracks when wining at Talladega in the spring of 1998. However, back in 2011 while driving for JTG Daugherty Racing it was Labonte who pushed Trevor Bayne to victory at the Daytona 500.
Getting Labonte is a win for Go Fas Racing. Labonte was once the face of Interstate Batteries and Cheerios during the prime of his career. Now C&J energy will back Labonte.
"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 (Stoddard) and Archie (St. Hilaire), for allowing me the opportunity to take over where my brother left off."
In recent years, Go Fas Racing has allowed for younger talent to come in and show what they have in underfunded equipment. The team hasn’t had a full time driver in years. But with an established veteran at the top of the helm will bring in new leadership.
Last season Travis Kvapil raced the most races for Go Fas Racing, 16 races. Terry Labonte only ran the four restrictor plate races. The team is trying to build on only finishing in the top 20, two times. Bobby could add that spark that they have been looking for in order to bring the program to the next step.
Bobby has won some of the sports marquee events including the Brickyard 400 and the Coca-Cola 600. His next item will be delivering the best results for a team who hasn’t relinquished themselves as a top-tier team and may never get to that point. But if Labonte puts together a few good races even if its just at a restrictor plate track where anything can happen, it will give Go Fas the confidence in the ability of their equipment.
Maybe Labonte will be the Cinderella story of 2015.