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NASCAR NEWS 

Labonte extends contract with Petty

Bobby Labonte, 2008Former Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series champion Bobby Labonte has signed an extension to his current contract at Petty Enterprises.

Labonte has committed to his current squad for the next four years, which means he will stay put until 2012, following the announcement of Boston Ventures as Petty Enterprises' new investor, which is set to boost the team financially.

"I have known all along this is where I want to finish my racing career," said Labonte. "The future is very bright for Petty Enterprises. As we continue to develop and learn from this new car we will increase our testing and engineering support.

"The investment from Boston Ventures will allow us to compete on the same level as the bigger Sprint Cup teams."

The 2000 Sprint Cup champion believes the new partnership and his renewed confidence in his team will allow them to get back to Victory Lane, where they haven't been since 1999 when John Andretti won for them at Martinsville.

"After the initial meeting I had with Boston Ventures, it was evident they shared the same vision and desire to return Petty Enterprises to Victory Lane that we all have," Labonte added.

"Their enthusiasm is contagious. When you can pair that with 'The King', the confidence and success that he portrays, you have an organization that will be as strong as any in the Sprint Cup Series."

The 44-year-old had been surrounded by speculation linking him to Richard Childress Racing, as he has been competing for them in the Nationwide Series and are set to expand to four cars next year.

Robbie Loomis, the team's Vice President of Race Operations, believes Labonte's continuity with the team will allow them to keep on building towards their first victory together.

"Bobby Labonte is a first-class driver who gives us credibility on the racetrack and in the corporate boardroom," said Loomis.

"There is a reason why he is a series champion and one of the most respected people in the NASCAR garage. The success he has enjoyed on the racetrack speaks for itself. He is also one of the most popular drivers in the Sprint Cup Series and is a great ambassador for Petty Enterprises and for all of our partners.

"Everyone at Petty Enterprises is excited to have Bobby in No. 43 Dodge for 2009 and beyond."

Labonte joined Petty Enterprises in 2006 but the team are still waiting for their first win together.

The team has yet to announce the sponsor for Labonte for next year as General Mills announced they would be leaving at the end of the year to partner with Richard Childress Racing.

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