2006 Team Performance
In 2006, Petty got a head start on the kind of remaking of a racing organization that teams like Yates, Ginn and Davis are undertaking in '07. As such, you'd have to qualify last year as a minor success. Robbie Loomis left Hendrick Motorsports to take over the entire Petty driving operation, and he brought Evernham engines with him. Oh, and he brought this former Nextel Cup champ named Bobby Labonte, too. While Petty cars didn't exactly burn up the track in '06, they did post eight more top-10s and three more top-Fives, and led 45 more laps than in '05. Kyle Petty's fortunes didn't really change that much (in fact, his finishing average went from 24.5 in 2005 to 27.4 last year), but there was a sense of optimism, and truthfully, given the number of teams either completely starting over with new drivers and crew chiefs or jumping from their old manufacturer to Toyota, it's clear Petty absolutely got ahead of the curve last season. They got their transition year behind them early.
2007 Team Outlook
Things are better. Labonte is supposedly very pleased with the new nose the Dodge Charger will sport, and continuity among the two Petty teams is fixing to pay off. Loomis has worked wonders, from bringing in Paul Andrews to work as Labonte's crew man in place of ultra-aggressive Todd Parrott (who defected to Yates), to getting more of a week-to-week commitment out of Kyle Petty, to deciding to pay for Evernham engines. There's about as much optimism as possible for a team whose drivers finished 21st and 32nd in points. Year Two of the Loomis Administration looks to be a pretty decent one, especially for the storied No. 43 and Mr. Labonte.
43 - Bobby Labonte
Best Finish: 3rd
Poles, Top-fives, top-10s, DNFs: 0, 3, 8, 8