Labonte beats Andretti to Nashville SRX win

Labonte beats Andretti to Nashville SRX win


Labonte beats Andretti to Nashville SRX win


Bobby Labonte scored his first Camping World SRX Series win on Saturday night at the Nashville Fairgrounds.

After a third place in the first heat race and a fourth-place finish in heat 2, Labonte started from pole position in the main event and led every one of the 75 laps on the paved oval. However, a late-race caution closed up the field and Laborite had to hold off a hard charging Marco Andretti and Matt Kenseth.

Andretti finished second for the second week in a row followed by Kenseth in his SRX debut. Kenseth’s showing added to a strong night for first-timers, as IndyCar racer Josef Newgarden won his first heat and local ringer Cole Williams won the second heat.

“We had a great night, a lot of fun. Can’t believe I won one,” said Labonte, who at age 58 is the oldest driver to win an SRX race. “This is so intimidating with these drivers. I’m telling you, I get nervous. I’m just thinking,‘Man I see Matt Kenseth coming and I’ve seen this story before. Oh my god, here he comes.’ Maybe I made it look a little easy tonight, but it wasn’t easy.”

Labonte said his win was the product of steady improvement and learning from some of his fellow all-stars.

“I didn’t run that good in practice and I told Tony (Eury Jr.), ‘I think I’m running the wrong line,’” he said. “I usually try to fire off and go fast and try to feel like I have plenty of confidence and I didn’t, but I will say, I just followed Josef (Newgarden) there early and a couple of the other guys. They’re tough.”

Andretti admitted to a little frustration about finishing second for the second week in a row, but felt Laborite always had the edge.

“Bobby Labonte shot out of a cannon right from the start of the feature, so I knew he was a force to reckon with there. I think the fastest car won for sure,” Andretti said. “I was one step of rear grip away getting in and coming off the corner. If I can get the power down a little better, I think I would have gotten closer there at the end. Those Cup guys know just how far to pull away at the end so you can’t get to their bumper. It was a fun one. I keep running steady. We’re going to be bummed if we keep finishing second.”

After taking third, Kenseth blamed himself for a tactical error that blunted his chances at the finish.

“I ran myself out of time a little bit there,” he admitted. “I should have counted cars so I had some inside restarts there at the end. I felt like I saved the most rear tire. My car drove a lot better in the feature. We got the stagger kind of under control and it was much better. I burned the tires off so bad and got so loose in the heat, I couldn’t do anything, so I was bound and determined not to do that. I felt I had the best tires at the end but ran myself out of time. I should have gone a little sooner.”

He’ll get a chance to apply that lesson next week as the Camping World SRX Series moves on to I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri — the first of two dirt tracks to conclude the six-race season — on Saturday, July 16. Joining the top three finishers from Nashville at I-55 will be Ken Schrader, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ryan Newman, Paul Tracy, Michael Waltrip, Tony Kanaan and Hailie Deegan.

Nashville main event results:

Finishing Position


Car Number


Bobby Labonte



Marco Andretti



Matt Kenseth



Paul Tracy 



Helio Castroneves 



Ryan Newman 



Josef Newgarden 



Michael Waltrip 



Greg Biffle 



Ryan Hunter-Reay 



Tony Stewart



Cole Williams 



Tony Kanaan