We were actually pretty good at the beginning of the race at Martinsville. We didn't qualify well -- 32nd. We came in and pitted under that first caution, put two tires on and came out about 30th. We drove up to 14th and felt pretty good about our car. The next caution came out, we stayed out and inherited the lead that way. It worked out great until ... we got spun out. We just were biding our time, trying to hang on to track position. That incident with the 8 bent the nose down. We tried to fix it, tried to fix it, but we couldn't get it back to pre-race height, so we ended up putting some bump packers in the right front shock, and we messed up our geometries. We struggled from there on out. It really affects your race car a lot.
As far as the alleged theft involving Roush Fenway Racing and a Toyota team, honestly I don't know exactly how everything worked there. I've personally never seen anybody take anything from anybody else. I don't know ... it's a sway bar. It wasn't like it was a shock or it wasn't like it was a carburetor. I don't see it being that big of an issue, personally.
The talk about Bobby possibly going to Richard Childress Racing and losing General Mills sponsorship, I talked to Bobby a lot about it. We communicate really well. I'm not concerned. I don't have a whole lot of concern about it. I hate to see General Mills leave. But it's the 43 car, Bobby Labonte driving, and I don't think sponsorship is going to be an issue. I think the 43 car of Bobby Labonte is more marketable than 35 of them out there racing right now. I just don't think it will be issue.
Now we're heading to Texas. I was really excited about the short tracks, but the last two races we haven't had much luck, so I'm excited about Texas. I know Bobby is excited about going home. We were looking over all the appearances he has in Texas, and it's a pretty big thing for Bobby and for all the race fans in Texas. It's amazing how big he is there.
We had a really good run at Atlanta, which has a similar configuration to Texas. We qualified good, raced good, had a part failure during the race and still finished 12th. We feel good about the package we're taking from Atlanta. I'm sure we'll have to tweak on the setup based on the tire, because Goodyear is bringing the tire they used at Texas last year. With the new car, we get tire data from Goodyear, we look through it and we make our best assumptions as to how the tire reacts. Going to the track, we have a pretty good idea what we're going to be fighting with the tire. Every week we know what kind of little things we're going to be fighting. I don't feel like we're going to have the issues at Texas that we had at Atlanta. It's a softer tire than we had at Atlanta, so I think the drivers will be happy."
Jeff Meendering is the first-year crew chief for the famed Petty Enterprises No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger driven by Bobby Labonte. Meendering will take ESPN.com readers inside his life on and off the track each week with the help of writer Angelique S. Chengelis.