Terry Labonte’s long, distinguished NASCAR career may finally be coming to an end.
Labonte, a two-time champion in what is now the Sprint Cup Series, is planning to start Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in the No. 32 Ford for Go FAS Racing.
Labonte, 57, has said at the end of previous seasons he likely was making his final start, but this year he told team owner Frank Stoddard before the season started this would be it.
“This is the third time I’ve run my last race,” Labonte told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Friday. “It’s been fun. It’s been exciting. I wish I was 10 years younger.”
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Labonte’s last full-time season was 2004 with Hendrick Motorsports. Sunday will be his 890th career start in the Cup series.
Labonte has 22 career victories and won championships in 1984 and 1996.
Dancing and driving
Michael Waltrip is pulling an interesting and difficult double this weekend, competing in Sunday’s GEICO 500 while also preparing for his upcoming performance on Monday’s edition of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
Waltrip and dance partner Emma Slater are practicing this weekend in Oxford, Ala., while Waltrip prepares for Sunday’s race and as a commentator on Fox Sports’ coverage of Saturday’s Truck series race.
“My time on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ has been an incredible experience,” Waltrip said. “It is obviously fun but also a lot of hard work.
“As an industry, we have always tried to find ways to get in the mainstream conversation. When 15 million people watch me outside of my comfort zone every week, I would say we definitely are getting in the conversation.”
RPM looks for new home
Richard Petty Motorsports is in the process of finding a new home for next season. The facility it uses in Concord has been sold, a team spokesman confirmed.
RPM, which fields two full-time Sprint Cup Series teams, is housed on Zephyr Place NW near Concord Regional Airport. The organization moved to its current location from Statesville in 2010.
The organization is in the process of looking at several facilities, team officials confirmed.
Engine builder winners
Elmer Javier, a Hendrick Master Certified Technician from Hendrick Honda of Charleston (S.C.), teamed up with Hendrick Motorsports engine assembler Van Nguyen to win the 13th annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown held at Hendrick Motorsports in Concord this week.
The duo outlasted Gwinnett Place Honda (Duluth, Ga.) Hendrick Master Certified Technician Dan Ryan and Hendrick Motorsports engine assembler Scott Vester in the championship round with a time of 21 minutes, 48 seconds.
Jones adds two races
Brandon Jones, a 17-year-old driver who has earned wins in ARCA and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, will make two Truck series starts before season’s end with GMS Racing.
Jones will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet next weekend at Martinsville, Va., and Nov. 7 at Phoenix. Jones finished a career-best fourth in Trucks at Dover, Del., this season.