Labonte Still Only Driver to Win Cup and Nationwide Titles As Johnson Joins Yarborough, Labonte Remains by Himself
Mooresville, N.C. (November 20, 2008) -- Bobby Labonte has enjoyed a long and storied career in NASCAR. His 2000 Sprint Cup title assured him a place in the annals of the sport's history. It firmly entrenched him at the top of his profession.
Along the way he has garnered some of the rarest achievements in NASCAR. He and brother Terry are the only brothers to win Cup championships. He is the only man to win NASCAR Nationwide Series championships as both a driver (1991) and owner (1994).
However, as Jimmie Johnson beat Carl Edwards for his record-tying third straight Cup championship on Sunday in Homestead, Florida, he also ensured that Labonte would keep one of NASCAR's ultimate achievements to himself.
As Johnson crossed the finish line in 15th, Labonte remained the only driver in NASCAR history to win a Sprint Cup title (2000) and Nationwide Series title in his career.
"I have to consider that one of the highest honors of my career. I mean, no one else has done it," said Labonte. "There have been a lot of great drivers that have competed in both series and I'm sure someone will join me eventually. Carl (Edwards) is coming closer and closer every year. I'm beginning to feel like the '72 Dolphins."
Labonte came along when the Nationwide Series was a true "feeder" series into the Sprint Cup ranks. His hard work and determination that he showed in the Nationwide Series led Labonte to some of the most historic rides in NASCAR's premier division, including the No. 43 Petty Enterprises Dodge that he currently pilots.
"Back then we were guys hoping to make it," said Labonte. "I owned my own team and really enjoyed racing against Chuck Bown and Rob Moroso and Kenny Wallace. Those are some of the best memories I have. We would really get after it. I learned so much during those years."