Dover II: Bobby Labonte preview

Labonte To Make 500th Consecutive Start Second Only To Jeff Gordon By One Start This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the ...

Labonte To Make 500th Consecutive Start
Second Only To Jeff Gordon By One Start

This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the one-mile, banked Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday's Dodge Dealers 400. Labonte will be making his 500th consecutive start this weekend.

In Labonte's 30 previous visits he has started from the pole three times and has started in the top-five on 10 occasions. He scored a win at the track in 1999 and has had 11 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes at Dover. He has led 143 laps at the track over 10 races.

Labonte heads to Dover 17th in points, only 92 points out of the 15th position.

Comments from Labonte heading into this weekend's race at Dover:

"Making 500 career starts was a pretty high mark, but now to make 500 consecutive starts is something that is going to top that. You reach certain marks in your career and you wonder if you can ever doing something better. Having 500 consecutive starts is pretty special because this is such a demanding sport. It's a very humbling sport, and you have to continue to work hard to reach new goals. This is something that is cool, but now it's time to move to the next goal.

"It's really time to move to Dover and see how we can get better with our Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Avenger. We had a great run with it at Bristol, but Richmond and New Hampshire proved that we still need to work on it. Dover wasn't a bad race for us in June with it. We qualified third and finished 18th. We need to come back and qualify third or better again, but keep it up front.

"I really think that our Avenger program is pretty good. We do have a pretty decent handle on it and we have more confidence at the track with it. Doug (Randolph, crew chief) really has made good calls during the race, but there are still things we need to learn too. We are just trying to bring all the pieces together with it right now.

"After Dover we only have three more races with it this season, and one of those is Talladega which is going to be completely different. We're looking at the calendar and it's mid-September and in five months we'll be racing or Avenger every week. There just aren't a lot of races before we are into this car full-time. It's important to gather as much race information now as possible.

"We're going into Dover with good knowledge of how to make the car go fast. Having Doug come here with us for the first time, we're hoping that he can help us get up front and stay there. Track position, making the right calls and adjustments, are going to be critical. You don't want to fight traffic all day. We've been in that situation the last two weekends. We want to start up front and stay up front."

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte