HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, July 5, 2005 -- The following are USG Sheetrock 400 and USG Durock 300 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Boniva (ibandronate sodium) Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (NEXTEL Cup) and driver of the No. 19 Banquet Chevrolet Joe Gibbs Racing (Busch Series):
USG SHEETROCK 400 PRE-RACE NOTES:
Boniva (ibandronate sodium), a new medicine for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, will serve as primary sponsor for the No. 18 Chevrolet at Chicagoland.
Labonte will attempt to start his fifth NEXTEL Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. He has never scored a victory in NEXTEL Cup competition at Chicagoland and has had little luck at the 1.5-mile track. His best finish at Chicagoland is 18th in 2002 and 2004. His other finishes have been 39th (2001, engine problem) and 36th (2003, accident).
His best start at Chicagoland is 11th in 2004. Chicagoland is the only track on the NEXTEL Cup circuit that Labonte has failed to start or finish in the top 10.
Labonte is 25th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has 1,565 points and trails 24th-place Scott Riggs by 22 points. Labonte is 813 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson, 413 points from the 400-point cutoff for the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup and 465 behind Kurt Busch and Dale Jarrett, who are tied for ninth.
The primary car for the USG Sheetrock 400 is Chassis No. 91, which has never been raced before. The car was involved in an accident in May during practice for the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
The back-up car is chassis No. 78, the car Labonte used at Dover, where he finished 38th after engine problems ended his day after just 51 laps. The chassis was also used in 2004 at both Pocono races where he finished third and 29th (accident). Also in 2004, Labonte used the car to finish eighth at Las Vegas, 18th at Atlanta (spring), 18th at New Hampshire (fall) and 17th at Charlotte (fall). In 2003, the car was used in the second Atlanta race, where Labonte finished fifth. Chassis No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole for both races at Michigan and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.
USG DUROCK 300 PRE-RACE NOTES:
The USG Durock 300 is the second of eight Busch Series races the Labonte will compete in for Joe Gibbs Racing and ConAgra Foods. Labonte started 12th and finished sixth on the Hunt's Chevrolet in May at Charlotte. In addition to Charlotte and Chicago, Labonte will compete at: Brooklyn, Mich., Aug. 21 (Eckrich), Bristol, Aug. 26 (Hunt's), Richmond, Sept. 9 (Banquet); Kansas, Oct. 10 (Banquet), Texas, Nov. 6 (Slim Jim), and Phoenix, Nov. 12 (Slim Jim).
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion):
"We've never really had good runs at Chicago. I'm not sure why. We've run well at just about every 1.5-mile track, except there. Hopefully running the No. 19 Banquet car in the Busch Series will help us learn a few things for when we run the Boniva car on Sunday. We had a good test up there with both the Cup car and Busch car, so hopefully, we can get a put what we learned there to good use."