Fontana II: Bobby Labonte preview

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will display a unique message paint scheme on the No. 18 Chevrolet at California Speedway. The sponsorship is to help raise awareness of the Asthma Control Test (ACT) and to motivate asthma patients to assess their level of...

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will display a unique message paint scheme on the No. 18 Chevrolet at California Speedway. The sponsorship is to help raise awareness of the Asthma Control Test (ACT) and to motivate asthma patients to assess their level of control and encourage them to talk with their doctor about their asthma symptoms.

Labonte will attempt to start his 11th NEXTEL Cup race at California Speedway. He finished second at Fontana in 2000 and 2003, third in 1999 and fifth in the 2004 spring race. He won the Bud Pole for the 2001 event at California.

In February, Labonte started 14th and finished 13th in the Auto Club 500 at California.

In the May 2004 event at California Speedway, Labonte started 27th and finished fifth. Labonte was in second place on the final lap when he ran out of fuel. He coasted to the finish line in fifth-place. In the September race, he started 37th and finished 20th.

Last week at Bristol, Labonte started 42nd and finished 21st.

Bad luck has plagued Labonte throughout the 2005 season. He has failed to finish in nine of the 24 races due to accidents or engine problems.

Labonte is 24th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has 2,314 points and trails 23rd-place Ricky Rudd by 15 points.

The primary car for the Sony HD 500 is chassis No. 99 the car Labonte finished second with in the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29. Labonte started sixth and finished 14th with the car in June at MIS and also drove the car at Atlanta where he started 19th and finished 37th after being involved in an accident on Lap 1 and suffering engine problems late in the race.

The back-up car is chassis No. 91 which Labonte used at Chicago when he started 26th and finished 13th and at Michigan where he started 18th and finished 16th. The car was involved in an accident in May during practice for the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion): "We've had some success at Fontana, but have never won there. It's a lot like Michigan, which is a track I really like, but the banking is a little less at California. I like the racetrack and, hopefully, we'll have some success there this weekend. We ran decent in February at Fontana, but we never really got a handle on the car. Hopefully we'll improve on that this week."

-jgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte