On the only oval track on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series schedule, Bobby Labonte earned his first runner-up finish on Sunday at France’s Tours Speedway. In the No. 18, Yacco Toyota for the RDV Competition team based in Chartres, France, the NASCAR 30 year veteran moved through the pack to the front of the race.
Labonte was a pre-race favorite with the heat soaring to 95 degrees for the start of the race. Beginning with a morning practice session, then two semi-final heat races to decide the starting grid, Labonte started seventh in the finale and put his No. 18 on the inside row of four for the short track race.
“The RDV Competition team worked hard to get the #18 Yacco Toyota prepared for today’s race,” said Labonte. “We had a tough break yesterday with a mechanical issue, so to turn that around and finish second today is really good for us. Yacco has been behind us all season and we’re happy to run so well for them. It was hot out there and we raced each other hard and clean. I’m happy to be part of that and to finish second feels good. I think we needed another lap or two and we might have had a chance at the win, but Tours, France was good to us today.”
Top drivers from all over the world are looking to advance their careers to the top-level of NASCAR in the United States and Labonte is a proud ambassador for the sport and enjoys helping the European series grow.
Labonte is the first American NASCAR champion to compete full-time in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. This race is the fourth event overseas for the NASCAR veteran. His previous three races were on road courses in Valencia, Spain, Franciacorta, Italy, and Brands Hatch, United Kingdom. Two more road courses are on the schedule for September and October in Hockenheim, Germany and Zolder, Belgium.
Sunday’s finish for Labonte and his team are a big boost as they look ahead to playoff contention.