Daytona Duel: Andretti, Labonte race notes

Andretti, Labonte Speak of Prestige of 50th Daytona 500 Drivers See it From Various Views Archdale, N.C. (February 14, 2008) -- The anticipation is at its peak and the stage is now set for the 50th running of the "Great American Race", the ...

Andretti, Labonte Speak of Prestige of 50th Daytona 500
Drivers See it From Various Views

Archdale, N.C. (February 14, 2008) -- The anticipation is at its peak and the stage is now set for the 50th running of the "Great American Race", the Daytona 500. Drivers, owners, NASCAR officials, fans and anyone who is affiliated in any way with the sport of NASCAR has spent months upon months preparing for Sunday's golden anniversary of this race.

Drivers Bobby Labonte and John Andretti, both of whom have different racing backgrounds, talked about the common ground of racing in the sports biggest race and celebrating its 50th anniversary.

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Bobby Labonte, CEO, Breaking Limits and Driver, #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge:

Labonte will start 13th in Sunday's 50th Daytona 500

"This is what it's all about. We ran well in the Duel race and now we're concentrating on what will be one of the biggest races I've been in. That's how big the 50th edition of this race is. You saw the guys who didn't race in, the frustration of not making it. This is a big deal. I feel fortunate to be a part of this event as a driver. We've heard so much about this race, and the anticipation is great, now it's time to race and be a part of something special. It means a lot.

"Daytona is always big, and there are other big races too. But, it's not like Daytona at 50. That makes it special and something even more to be a part of. We saw guys today racing real hard to make it. Look at guys like Kenny Wallace and Dale Jarrett. It's a tough thing to do when you're not guaranteed a spot. Like I said, I'm happy we ran well and weren't in that position. We can concentrate on Sunday now.

"Yea, maybe I look at things differently from the business side. You see all the sponsors, and everything they are doing to prepare for Sunday. General Mills, Coca-Cola, Dodge, Sprint and you can go on and on. I think, until you see that side of the sport and get involved in it, do you really see what it's all about. How much time is put into making this Sunday happen, and making programs that will work and help so many different people and race fans. This sport, this race, it will touch a lot of people on Sunday. It's good for the business of the sport."

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John Andretti, Driver, #34 Makoto Chevrolet:

Andretti will start 22nd in Sunday's race

"Who would have thought it? I'm just excited to be in it. The 50th running, it's Daytona, my family will be here, my uncle (Mario Andretti) will be here. It's just a great feeling to be a part of it. I don't know what the odds are, but to race in this great race on Sunday is just great.

"You think of this race and the Daytona 500 is history. I grew up in an open wheel family, and Indianapolis is the greatest track in the whole world, but Daytona and the Daytona 500 is special too. The 50th running of this race is going to be a great event.

"You know, my uncle won this race before he won the Indianapolis 500. That's a big deal, and to have him here on Sunday is going to be great. We spoke after qualifying earlier in the week, and I'm sure he's excited. My sister will be here, my father is here and it's a great time for the whole family. I'm proud to carry the Andretti flag during this 50th event.

"Even more, it's team owner Bob Jenkins first start for the Daytona 500. I'm so happy to give him that opportunity. We might not be running up front for the win, but we can have a respectable race and finish. That will be the icing on the cake."

-credit: Breaking Limits

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Kenny Wallace , Mario Andretti