Lucas Oil Once Again to Sponsor Earl Pearson Jr. and No. 44 Team
Trinity, N.C. (January 10, 2012) - Bobby Labonte Racing (BLR) announced today that the team will once again return to the national dirt late model circuit in 2012 with driver Earl Pearson Jr. driving the familiar No. 44 Dodge. Lucas Oil will continue its long-standing sponsorship of Pearson Jr. and joins BLR for its sixth consecutive season. The team will operate as a single-car entry this race season with veteran BLR crew member Matt Langston stepping up as crew chief. Former general manager and crew chief Jason Fitzgerald has moved back to Florida with his family while Brad Neat will race out of his home state of Kentucky.
The team will continue to race its in-house Longhorn Chassis and is currently developing a new chassis that the team will debut early this season. Pearson Jr. will then compete in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series as well as select World of Outlaw events and non-sanctioned national events throughout the year.
"There have been some changes to the team over the winter, but we're still focused on winning races," said team owner Bobby Labonte. "We want to return Earl back to victory lane and make sure the Longhorn Chassis is a consistent winner for not only us, but our customers. We're proud to have the great support from Lucas Oil this season. They have been very loyal supporters of Earl and us since the start. We are still looking for additional partners to join the team this season to help continue to grow the organization."
One of the biggest changes during the winter months has been Matt Langston stepping up to replace Fitzgerald. Langston has been with team since the inception of BLR. He is very familiar with Pearson Jr. and the daily operations of the race shop and tracks where the team competes.
"After taking the winter months to formulate our plan for the season, I'm more ready than ever," said Pearson Jr. "Although we are all disappointed to see Jason (Fitzgerald) move back to Florida, I have complete confidence in Matt and his abilities. We're working hard on the Longhorn Chassis to make it better for this race season. We're all anxious to get back to racing and seeing our progress. I'm proud to have Lucas Oil again as a sponsor. We're also hopeful that more companies may want to partner with the team and Bobby this season as well."
Pearson Jr. and his BLR team competed in 57 different events in 2011 with 25 top-10 and 15 top-five finishes to their credit. The team will travel to Golden Isle Speedway in Brunswick, Ga., to kick-off its season February 12.