The United States Coast Guard has confirmed that it is entering into a partnership with Labonte Motorsports and driver Justin Labonte for a 15-race schedule in the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series.

Justin's father, two-time Nextel Series champion Terry Labonte, and uncle Bobby Labonte, winner of the 2000 Nextel championship and 1991 NASCAR Busch Series, will participate in the programme, which is aimed at enhancing the Coast Guard's recruitment and outreach missions.

"This partnership offers a unique opportunity to showcase the Coast Guard and tell our story to an unprecedented audience of potential recruits and those that influence them," said Admiral Thomas Collins, commandant of the Coast Guard, "We are delighted to welcome the Labontes to our Coast Guard family."

Labonte Jr won the 2003 Late Model Stock Championship at Caraway Speedway, duplicating the feat accomplished by uncle Bobby in 1987. He also posted impressive statistics in his title run, with seven wins in 24 starts, to go along with 19 top-five and 21 top-ten finishes.

Labonte admitted that he is excited to be representing the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.

"It is an honour for me to be associated with such a great military service as the Coast Guard," he said, "I am privileged to have the opportunity to foster a better understanding of all the Coast Guard does and what it represents, and I am committed to using the vast array of outreach venues NASCAR affords to do just that.

"Our whole family has spent a lot of time learning about the Coast Guard and the more we see the more impressed we are about our association with such dedicated men and women and the many things they do that impact our lives and national security."

Father Terry expressed similar sentiments, claiming that 'Bobby, my wife Kim and I are proud to have our family support the Coast Guard, and to have them supporting Justin'.

"We are looking forward to the ways we can bring to light the many missions they accomplish that make a big difference for all of us on a daily basis," he said, "Now that they are part of the Department of Homeland Security, it is more important than ever that we citizens understand how the Coast Guard helps us - and how we need to help the Coast Guard. We couldn't be more pleased with this relationship."

The 2004 Team Coast Guard Racing/Labonte Motorsports #44 Dodge will be powered by the Labonte Motorsports in-house motor development group, Labonte Racing Engines Inc, headed by Freddie Turza. Bryant Frazier will be the team's crew chief. He was the crew chief for Steve Grissom during his Busch Series championship season in 1993 and later served as crew chief for Bobby Labonte in several of his Busch Series victories.

 

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