Bobby Labonte will drive for TRG Motorsports on a full-time basis next year, the team has announced.
The former NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series champion started the year driving for the Yates Racing operated Hall of Fame. However he switched to TRG in September when HOF put rookie Erik Darnell in the car for the second Atlanta race. Since then Labonte has competed in five races with TRG, earning its first top-10 finish a few weeks ago at Talladega.
The 45-year-old held talks with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing about taking over the drive of the team's No. 1 car, but a possible deal fell through and he signed for TRG instead. After recent uncertain winters, Labonte is glad to have his 2010 plans already set in stone.
"Each time I've run with the team this year I've enjoyed the experience, and I'm looking forward to filling the seat full-time next year and really building on what we have started," said Labonte.
TRG entered the Sprint Cup Series this year with a single car operation, which was initially driven by David Gilliland. Although TRG missed the field for the Daytona 500, it has qualified for every other race since then, and had two cars on the grid for the first time at Texas last week.
"We have come an incredibly long way in a very short time. I think today's announcement speaks volumes for the potential that we have as an organization, and shows we're doing the right thing," said TRG owner Kevin Buckler.
TRG has still to announce which manufacturer it plans to compete for next year. It hopes to start the 2010 season with two cars attempting to make the field for its first Daytona 500.