Posted: 4:14 p.m. Saturday, June 8, 2013
By Jordan Bianchi
AJ Allmendinger will replace Bobby Labonte for five races at JTG/Daugherty Racing beginning next weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
JTG/Daugherty is not releasing Labonte as driver of the No. 47, who will return to the seat at Sonoma June 23, but the single-car team is bringing Allmendinger to help assess areas where it can improve.
"We are going to try to put a program together for AJ to run five races," team co-owner Brad Daugherty told FoxSports.com. "We'd like to run two cars but we're just running so poorly it's not feasible at this time. This gives us an opportunity to run someone that's competitive and give us a benchmark.
"This is not an unseating of Bobby Labonte, but we have to have some feedback because this is a single car team."
Labonte joined JTG/Daugherty in 2011 and in his first race for the team placed third in the Daytona 500. But the 2013 season has been a struggle for the 2000 Sprint Cup champion, who turned 49 Saturday. In 13 races this year he has finished no better than 15th and sits 28th in the standings heading into this weekend's race at Pocono Raceway.
Having started 701 consecutive races dating back to 1993, Labonte has the second-longest streak among active drivers trailing Jeff Gordon by a lone race. He has 21 career Cup victories, but hasn't won since 2003 at Homestead.