James Finch to enter car in Daytona 500; Bobby Labonte to drive
When James Finch sold Phoenix Racing to Harry Scott Jr. earlier in the season, everybody thought that he was done with the ownership side of things in NASCAR. Well, not quite yet.
The longtime car owner wanted to have one more shot at winning the Daytona 500 and partnered up with Scott Jr. to put 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Bobby Labonte in a second car for Phoenix Racing in the Daytona 500 on February 23, 2014.
“I’m thrilled to be headed back to Daytona with Bobby Labonte,” said Finch. “I thank Harry Scott for this opportunity. He knew I would have to be weaned off racing, I can’t quit cold turkey.”
Labonte drove for Phoenix Racing for 13 races in the No. 09 in 2010, as well as one race this past season at Michigna International Speedway.
“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.”
Labonte brings veteran experience to the organization having won 21 Cup Series races and scoring 115 top fives since the beginning of his career in 1991.
Scott Jr. is excited about the program and said he jumped at the opportunity when Finch suggested it to him.
“Bobby is a veteran driver that can also provide valuable insight and leadership for Phoenix Racing,” he added.
Finch has had success on the restrictor plate tracks, but has yet to win the Daytona 500. He won the Aaron’s 499 in 2009 at Talladega Superspeedway with Brad Keselowski. He also won a Daytona Nationwide Series race with Kurt Busch.
Labonte’s car number, crew chief and sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks.
Harry Scott Jr. is also expected to announce who will be driving the primary car for Phoenix Racing in 2014 in the coming weeks, with rumors pointing towards Justin Allgaier who made some starts in the car last year.