Loudon: Bobby Labonte preview

NEW ENGLAND 300 PRE-RACE NOTES: Labonte will attempt to start his 21st NEXTEL Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. He has never scored a victory in NEXTEL Cup competition at NHIS, but finished second in 2000 (fall race) on his...

NEW ENGLAND 300 PRE-RACE NOTES:

Labonte will attempt to start his 21st NEXTEL Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. He has never scored a victory in NEXTEL Cup competition at NHIS, but finished second in 2000 (fall race) on his way to the championship.

In 20 races at NHIS, Labonte has started in the top five nine times (45 percent), including winning the Bud Pole in 2000 (fall race). He has finished in the top five four times, most recently in the 2002 fall race.

In 2004, Labonte started 20th and finished 17th in the first race at New Hampshire. In the second event, he started 13th and finished 18th.

Labonte is 24th in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points. He has 1,689 points and trails 23rd-place Sterling Marlin by four points. Labonte is 859 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson, 459 points from the 400-point cutoff for the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup and 483 behind 10th-place Kurt Busch.

The primary car for the New England 300 is Chassis No. 84, which Labonte used earlier in the year to finish sixth at Phoenix and eighth at Richmond. In 2004, the car was used at: Martinsville 1 (second), Richmond 1 (third), Richmond 2 (16th), New Hampshire 1 (17th), and Martinsville 2 (18th). In 2003, the car was driven by Labonte in fall races at New Hampshire (16th) and Martinsville (41st). It was also driven at Phoenix (36th, accident).

The back-up car is chassis No. 93, a new car that has not been used before.

NEW ENGLAND 300 QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion): "Overall, we've qualified pretty well at New Hampshire. We've had some decent runs up there, but have never been able to win. It's an interesting racetrack that has changed a lot over the years. We're hoping to have a good run up there and just try to get some momentum going. We've struggled this year, obviously, but we keep plugging away. Steve (Addington, crew chief) has done a good job, and all the guys have. It's been a frustrating, but we're still working hard."

-jgr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson