Allmendinger to replace Labonte for at least five races
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, June 8th 2013, 20:24 GMT|
AJ Allmendinger will replace Bobby Labonte in the JTG Daugherty NASCAR Sprint Cup team for at least five races, starting at Michigan next weekend.
So far this year Allmendinger has mixed a Cup programme with Phoenix Racing with selected IndyCar outings with Penske, for which he is also set to drive in some NASCAR Nationwide races.
Labonte, the 2000 Cup champion, has struggled since replacing Petty-bound Marcos Ambrose at JTG Daugherty in 2011. His troubles worsened this season, and he currently sits 28th in the championship with only three top-20 finishes so far this year.
JTG Daugherty competition director Bobby Hutchens believes the team's efforts to master the new Gen-6 Toyota are hampered by its single-car status.
He hopes that being able to call on two drivers for feedback for the rest of the year will help.
"A single-car team does not have the benchmarking capabilities of all the multi-car operations we compete against each weekend," he said.
"This move will help us identify where our cars stand so that we can go to work on the next generation of our car design."
Allmendinger is back with Phoenix for Pocono this weekend and will start 18th in Sunday's race. He has shared that drive with Austin Dillon and Regan Smith so far in 2013.