The United States Coast Guard has confirmed that it intends to extend its partnership with Labonte Motorsports to encompass a full 35-race schedule in the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series.

The USCG will continue to back 23-year old Justin Labonte, who is currently running the #44 'Shield of Freedom' car in a 15-race schedule under Coast Guard sponsorship this season.

"The Coast Guard entered into this year's partnership as a unique opportunity to showcase the organisation, and tell our story to an unprecedented audience of potential recruits and those that influence them," explained Admiral Thomas Collins, "Justin, Terry, Bobby and the entire Labonte Motorsports organisation have been true class acts throughout the season.

"It's clear that we made the right choice in partnering with a family and team whose values and traditions mirror those of the Coast Guard family. We are looking forward to extending our partnership into the 2005 season."

Labonte Jr said that he couldn't be more thrilled with his Coast Guard association, and couldn't wait to mount a full campaign in 2005.

"I've visited a lot of Coast Guard units and there's still a lot of neat stuff that I haven't seen, so I'm looking forward to more visits," he said, "I couldn't ask for a better sponsor - it's been a lot of fun.

"Being able to race a full schedule is so important to being a successful team," he added. "You just can't make the same progress running a limited schedule, so we're very excited about racing every week and making a run at the championship with the 'Shield of Freedom' #44."

Justin's father, Winston Cup champion Terry, and equally successful uncle Bobby, have been full participants in the partnership, which is aimed at enhancing the Coast Guard's recruiting and outreach missions. The three Labonte drivers also serve as spokesmen in TV and print public service announcements for the Coast Guard's 2004 National Boating Safety Campaign.