TERRY LABONTE Looking to get a handle on Atlanta CORNELIUS, NC (March, 14, 2006) -- Terry Labonte has done exactly what has been asked of him so far in the 2006 season. He's finished each race, not torn up race cars and most importantly, offered...
Looking to get a handle on Atlanta
CORNELIUS, NC (March, 14, 2006) -- Terry Labonte has done exactly what has been asked of him so far in the 2006 season. He's finished each race, not torn up race cars and most importantly, offered advice to the new Hall of Fame Racing team and put them 27th in owners points.
After a solid 24th-place finish last week in Las Vegas, Labonte and the No. 96 DLP®HDTV team head to Atlanta -- a place where Labonte has never won, but has 24 top 10 finishes.
Terry Labonte (No. 96 DLP®HDTV Chevrolet):
Overall thoughts on Atlanta:
"One of the things I like about Atlanta is that the groove is real wide and you can run on the bottom of the track or the middle or the top in the corners. It really gives you a lot of options if your car isn't handling good. You can look around a little bit to see where it might handle a little better. It's fast. I don't think it's one of the fastest tracks anymore, but it seems fast. It doesn't have a lot of grip compare to when they first repaved it, so you feel like you're going faster there than you really are."
What's the key to going fast at Atlanta?
"You're car has to handle good. You've got to have a lot of power, of course and the car really has to handle in the corners. That's the key. The corners are pretty big, so you've got to carry a lot of speed through them. You've got to get through the corners good to keep your momentum up. It's a good racetrack, I like running there. I think what I like about it the most is if your car is good, you can run good and pass people and things like that."
After two races at non-restrictor-plate tracks (California and Las Vegas), what can the DLP®HDTV team take to Atlanta, where the team can't test because of NASCAR new testing rules?
"You know, that's what is so hard with the new team, is we don't have a notebook that says, 'Here's what we ran last year.' We weren't there last time. Atlanta is different that California and Vegas. You know Vegas and Atlanta are both a mile-and-a-half, but Atlanta has a lot more banking, so the setup you run at California and Vegas is completely different than what you'll run there."
What is your favorite memory of Atlanta?
"Actually, probably one my favorite days took place at Atlanta in the fall of 1996. Bobby (Labonte) won the race and I clinched the championship that day. It was pretty cool because both of us won that day. There's a great photo of me and Bobby, with Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs and our parents in victory lane. Bobby and I did a victory lap together that day. It was just a really cool deal. I remember we got back to the bus and me and Bobby and the whole family were sitting around and I had the Winston Cup and Bobby had the race trophy and my dad, who's a big Cowboys fan like me said, 'Hey, the Cowboys won today too.' It was kind of funny, because his sons had both won that day, and his favorite team won too." (NOTE: Troy Aikman, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing, did in fact lead the Cowboys to a 20-17 overtime victory in San Francisco against the 49ers on Nov. 10, 1996, the same day the Bobby won the race and Terry won the championship.)