FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 9, 1999) - Bobby Labonte may have stamped himself as a solid contender to grace Victory Lane in the March 27 Coca-Cola 300 NASCAR Busch Series race following two days of test sessions at Texas Motor Speedway. Labonte...
FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 9, 1999) - Bobby Labonte may have stamped himself as a solid contender to grace Victory Lane in the March 27 Coca-Cola 300 NASCAR Busch Series race following two days of test sessions at Texas Motor Speedway.
Labonte pushed his MBNA Pontiac Grand Prix around Texas Motor Speedway at an average speed of 178.5 mph during Tuesday's session. This speed is just short of Jeff Green's 1997 NASCAR Busch Series track record of 180.054 mph.
"We were really happy to be turning laps as fast as we were," Labonte said. "We were in a race setup, not trying to duplicate a qualifying run. The car was handling well.
"Testing here before the Coca-Cola 300 is important because we only get a couple of hours of practice before qualifying. Now when we arrive, the car can be set up using the information we gathered during this test. We hope this will put us just that much ahead of the rest of the field."
Labonte will be joined in the Coca-Cola 300 by fellow NASCAR Winston Cup driver Sterling Marlin. Marlin is running a limited schedule of Busch Series races as a teammate to Labonte with Joe Gibbs Racing.
A total of 20 NASCAR Winston Cup drivers are expected to enter the Coca-Cola 300. Jeff Gordon, the 1998 Winston Cup champion, is among this group that will face defending Busch Series champion Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Labonte will double up during the weekend, also shooting for the top spot in the March 28 PRIMESTAR 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race.
Winston Cup driver Bill Elliott also tested the McDonald's Ford Taurus.
Tickets for the Coca-Cola 300 are available seven days a week at Texas Motor Speedway's ticket office, at the ticket hotline of (817) 215-8500, on-line at www.texasmotorspeedway.com or through TicketMaster locations.