HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, May 2, 2005 -- The following are Dodge Charger 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. DODGE CHARGER 500 PRE-RACE NOTES: * ...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, May 2, 2005 -- The following are Dodge Charger 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.
DODGE CHARGER 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:
* Labonte will attempt to start his 25th NEXTEL Cup race at Darlington Raceway. He won the 2000 Southern 500 and won the Bud Pole for the 1997 Southern 500.
* Labonte has five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes at Darlington.
* In the spring of 2004, Labonte started 12th and finished second to Jimmie Johnson. In the fall he started 15th and finished ninth. In his last three Darlington races, Labonte has started no worse than 15th and finished no worse ninth.
* Labonte is 33rd in the 2005 NEXTEL Cup point standings and has endured miserable luck throughout the season. He suffered engine problems at Daytona and Martinsville and was involved in early accidents at Las Vegas, Bristol, Texas. At Atlanta and Talladega, he was involved in early accidents and then experienced engine problems while attempting to finish the race with a damaged race car.
* The primary car for the Dodge Charger 500 is chassis No. 71, which Labonte drove at both Bristol and Dover races in 2003. He finished third in the car at the spring events at each track. Labonte used the car four times in 2004: At Rockingham where he started 11th and finished 25th, Bristol (spring), 27th/33rd (accident), and Michigan (fall), 9th/26th and California (fall) 37th/20th.
* The back-up car is chassis No. 62, the car Labonte drove in All-Star events at Charlotte in 2003 (third-place finish) and 2004 (13th-place finish). The car was also used at the first Pocono event in 2003 when Labonte finished 16th. Labonte used the car at the end of 2004 at Kansas where he started fifth and finished 16th and Homestead where he finished 12th after starting sixth.
DODGE CHARGER 500 PRE-RACE QUOTE:
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "We've run pretty good recently at Darlington and had a really good run there last spring. I like going to Darlington. It's a great track, and the racing there is really good. When you talk about the history of NASCAR, you've got to talk about Darlington. It's a place where you really have to think behind the wheel throughout the entire race. It's a tricky track and you better respect it. You've got to drive it as hard as you can and find a line that will work around there. The thing about Darlington is that you can try and drive every lap perfect, but sooner or later you're going to touch the wall and get a one of those stripes on the car. It's just part of racing there."