The team needs sponsorship for several future races this season as well, team executive vice president Torrey Galida said before the race. Sponsor TaxSlayer.com was a 12-race primary deal, and most of its races were early in the year to coincide with tax season. Team owner Kevin Buckler's Adobe Road Winery is another sponsor.
"We're still looking for partners," Galida said. "TaxSlayer has been a great partner for us this year, but they're not on for the full season. We're getting to the point where we've got to be strategic with how we use our resources and continue to run as well as we can and attract more sponsorship."
With only four sets of tires (all appearing to be scuffs) in its pit box less than two hours before the start of the race, Galida said the team would decide during the race whether it would attempt to run the full event. Most teams planning on running the entire race had eight or nine sets of tires in their pits. Labonte stayed out when most teams pitted after an early caution to get a lap back and then pulled down pit road under green. The team listed the reason out as electrical.
Labonte is 33rd in the standings with no top-20 finishes despite running at the finish in 10 of the 12 races this year.
The team plans to show up for every race, Galida said, and not do a program such as the Wood Brothers, which comes to select races as a fully funded car.
"It's really important to stay in the top 35," said Galida, whose team is 33rd in owner points. "We want to score as many points as we possibly can and run as well as we can, but it may result in some trade-offs."
Labonte, who has a spot in the Sprint All-Star Race, will run the full event next week with sponsorship from TaxSlayer.com.