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September 4, 2013

AROUND THE TRACK: Earnhardt Jr.'s car finally fully funded

(Continued)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — LABONTE STILL AILING: Bobby Labonte will miss his second consecutive race while recuperating from three broken ribs suffered in a cycling accident near his North Carolina home Aug. 28. AJ Allmendinger will again drive the No. 47 Toyota for JTG Daugherty Racing at Richmond on Saturday night.

"I am feeling a lot better, but I don't want to put the race team in any compromising position this weekend," Labonte said. "It just makes more sense to focus on my rehab one more week to ensure that I'm ready to go at Chicago with no issues. I plan to be back with the team then and back behind the wheel."

Allmendinger was named last week the full-time driver by JTG for 2014 and Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR champion, is looking for a ride.

"Bobby Labonte means a lot to the JTG Daugherty Racing team and to our sport," Allmendinger said. "For me, it's a tough situation. I do not want to get more races with the team because someone is injured. Bobby is a guy that I believe is a Hall of Famer and he is a champion. It's tough to have that type of injury. Hopefully, he gets better as soon as possible to get back into the (car)."

ANOTHER RACE FOR TRUEX: Richard Petty Motorsports development driver Ryan Truex will get another shot at a Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday night when Phoenix Racing gives him a shot at Richmond.

Truex made his Cup debut at Bristol two weeks ago, but got only 39 laps under his belt before crashing out of the race.

"My first Cup start didn't go the way I wanted, so I'm grateful for the opportunity to get another chance," Truex said. "I was really happy with qualifying 18th at Bristol, but we cut a tire and that was disappointing. It's just nice to get back in the seat and get another chance so quickly."

It's been slow going for the younger brother of Martin Truex Jr., with only one Cup start and one Truck Series start on the year. The 21-year-old has yet to put together the funding for a full season at any NASCAR national level, but does have some experience at Richmond, where he has four previous Nationwide starts. His best finish was fourth in 2011.

"Now that I've got that first (Cup) start out of the way, and I know what to expect, I can't wait to get back on the track," Truex said. "We're trying to secure some sponsorship with RPM for next year and a good run helps. I just want to go out, learn as much as possible and complete all the laps."

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