Loudon II: Bobby Labonte preview

The Chase Begins For Labonte Too Team, Driver Has Goal, Finish 13t in Points This weekend Bobby Labonte has some visitors along for the ride for Sunday's New Hampshire 300 at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway. General Mills...

The Chase Begins For Labonte Too
Team, Driver Has Goal, Finish 13t in Points

This weekend Bobby Labonte has some visitors along for the ride for Sunday's New Hampshire 300 at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway. General Mills characters Lucky, Trix, Sonny and Buzz Bee will make up the #43 Cheerios Racing/Trix, Lucky and Friends Dodge. It's the first time that all characters have shared the hood and sides of the #43 Petty Enterprises Dodge.

Labonte, who will be dressed in the characters colors, will be making his 26th consecutive start at New Hampshire this weekend. He has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes on the flat, mile oval. He has one pole at the track. He has led at New Hampshire in eight different races for a total of 62 laps.

Labonte made his 500th Nextel Cup career start last weekend and will be making his 499th consecutive start this weekend. He heads to New Hampshire sitting 17th in points in an attempt to reach the 13th position (the highest mark non-chase competitors can reach). Labonte is 298 points out of 13th entering this weekend. The team is only 64 points out of 15th.

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

"You are always competing. You are always trying to get better each week. The goal is to win race and let the points take care of themselves. That is the same for everyone. I think everyone knows that. If we do our job we shouldn't have to worry about getting better in points because that will come with it. We've been getting better, but we can still do a lot in the last 10 races.

"We were the best in the final 10 races last year. I think we had a few top 10's and a few top-five's too. That really helped us improve. This year we have almost been in the same situation. Doug (crew chief Doug Randolph) has come over and has helped us get a pair of top 10 finishes immediately. We finished 11th in California and 16th in Richmond. We moved up to 17th in points over the last few weeks, but we still have a lot of guys ahead of us.

"We want to catch those guys ahead of us. It's not like the season is finished for us. I don't think you are going to see guys play dead. We had the opportunity to play spoiler last year and we really turned it on. This year, with Doug, I think we have already built some momentum going into these final 10 races. Hopefully we can be the spoiler again this season and get to that 13th spot in points. It's always important to finish the season strong.

"New Hampshire has been a good track for us. The Car of Tomorrow has been pretty good for us too. We are a confident team when it comes to racing the Avenger. The guys at the shop have a good understanding of it. They have been some of our better races this year. New Hampshire is a flat track, and we had success at Phoenix on a track that is similar. We passed a lot of cars our first race at New Hampshire too. We feel good about it.

"The car has a different look to it. I know we have Trix, Lucky, Sonny and Buzz Bee on the car this weekend. I've heard they might be walking hanging out at New Hampshire too. That's always special to have a car that fans can easily connect with. We probably have one of the easiest cars for fans to relate to every weekend with Cheerios on the side. I think this car, with Trix, Lucky and all their friends will really relate to all the kids watching at home and sitting in the stands. We want to give them a strong run on Sunday."

-credit: petty racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte