Perennial favorite to win at Atlanta long before he became a NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Skip Barber trained Bobby Labonte is looking for a shot in the arm as the series heads to the 1.5-mile high-banked Georgia oval this weekend. Four...
Perennial favorite to win at Atlanta long before he became a NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Skip Barber trained Bobby Labonte is looking for a shot in the arm as the series heads to the 1.5-mile high-banked Georgia oval this weekend.
Four victories and three runner-up finishes at Atlanta have the 2000 Winston Cup Champion confident that his Interstate Batteries team can get back on the point after a comparatively slow start that positions him 19th in the points chase.
"We’re really looking forward to Atlanta. I guess it’s one of those types of places that I have always liked from day one," explained Labonte. "You get to go really fast there, you can haul the mail off in the corners if your car is right and you can get right back on the gas and go. It’s got enough banking in the corners to hold you up. It’s just one of those types of racetracks that I like and I always enjoy going there. We’ve got a good set-up for it."
Labonte needs something close to a customary Atlanta finish to avoid getting buried in the title hunt as he currently stands 164 markers behind the early-season points leader. He had balanced a 40th-place Daytona finish with a runner-up run at Rockingham in which he nearly got by fellow Skip Barber trained Steve Park on the last lap, but saw a subsequent good Las Vegas roll come up snake eyes when a mechanical problem doomed him to 29th place.
"Vegas was a good run for us and we were out there racing and we were in the top-10 all day and we’re hoping we can go to Atlanta and do the same thing," Labonte said. "We haven’t started the season the way we wanted to, but still we’re not out of anything yet. We haven’t given up on anything, we just wish we could have finished better in Vegas.
"We have dug ourselves a pretty good hole so far this season," Labonte continued. "But we also know there are 33 races left on the schedule and in reality we are only 43 points out of the top-10 and 164 points behind the leader so we know it is possible to be made up. We'll just have to go to Atlanta and see what we can do now."
- Andrew Torres