Leffler's points ranking forced Gibbs' hand

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – Terry Labonte was hired Tuesday to
replace Jason Leffler in the road course race at Infineon Raceway
later this month.

Labonte will drive the No. 11 Chevrolet in Sonoma, Calif.,
because Leffler has been struggling and the Joe Gibbs Racing team
wants to ensure the car qualifies for the June 26 event. Many teams
hire road course specialists for this event, adding to the number
of cars attempting to qualify.

Gibbs wanted to ensure that the car makes the field, which
wasn't a guarantee because of Leffler's low ranking in the points
standings and his lack of experience on road courses.

"Jason understands that our support of him continues," said
team president J.D. Gibbs. "With an experienced veteran in Terry,
the No. 11 will benefit from his 25 years of Nextel Cup racing and
his strong performances at road course venues."

Labonte, a two-time NASCAR champion, is running a partial
schedule this season as he winds down his career. He has won twice
on road courses before, along with eight poles, 17 top-fives and 26
top-10s while leading a total of 411 laps.

Labonte will have the rare opportunity to compete as a teammate
with his brother, Bobby, who has driven for Gibbs since 1995.

The Labontes are the only brothers in NASCAR history to win Cup
Series championships -- Terry won in 1984 and 1996, while Bobby won
in 2000.