Martinsville II: Bobby Labonte post-race interview

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger) -- 3rd "We really weren't that good, but Paul Andrews (crew chief) did a great job changing the car around during the stops and we ended up getting track position at the end. When we...

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger) -- 3rd

"We really weren't that good, but Paul Andrews (crew chief) did a great job changing the car around during the stops and we ended up getting track position at the end. When we were a lap down we were OK, but we just couldn't pass anybody all day. Track position was it. Paul got it for us and we ended up third."

"I feel like I stole something. We didn't have the fastest race car, but we worked on it and got it better. We were fortunate that we were able to get some track position out of it, and we were able to run good at that time. That's the best we had run. It took us some time to get there. Paul (crew chief Andrews) did a great job in the pits. We had a time getting the car right, but once we got it right it was better. Track position was the biggest thing.

"We changed crew chiefs a couple of times now. I think Paul and I have hit it off good, the same as Billy (Wilburn) and Kyle. They've qualified a lot better and finished 10th today. The past few weeks have been really good. Sometimes we don't have the best racecar but we make the best out of the end of the race. That's the key, and it does give us more enthusiasm and confidence going into next week. I know the equipment is good and getting better. We'll have to keep getting better because everybody else is. We've got to get there quicker. I think everybody is doing a great job. We haven't had much bad luck. It's like Denny said, nobody has had the best of luck and actually we've probably had better luck than these guys in the past five races as far as average finishes go. I'm really proud of all the guys. Today was one of those days when we didn't have the best racecar, but we got the most out of it. We could have easily been involved in an accident. I actually hit Jamie McMurray and turned him around. I definitely didn't mean to do that, but that's the only time we touched anybody or got touched. All-in-all I've got a lot of confidence in our race team right now."

COMPARE NOW AND WHEN YOU WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP

"I'd say it's definitely competitive. I had Earnhardt to race and that was about it. These guys have nine other guys to race every weekend. It's definitely a little different from the outside looking in, and I'm sure on the inside these guys are feeling it, too. It looks a lot tougher because of the 10 guys so I guess The Chase is doing its deal. It's kind of weird, too. It seems like we're down to the last 10 races and a lot of championships go that way and funny things happen. It's like you hadn't had any back luck to get there and nobody did anything wrong and all of a sudden you've got a tire go down. We had that and Earnhardt had that at the same time. It's kinda strange how that works. It's kinda similar in a lot of ways, but it's pretty tough looking at it."

YOU'VE HAD FOUR TOP 10S IN THE LAST FIVE RACES. DOES THAT IMPRESS ?

"I can go home a little happier, I know that. It makes it a little bit easier. It's really amazing. It's hard don't get me wrong, but it seems like it's a lot harder to run 25th. We've done that a lot this year and it's like, 'man, we can't get no better than that.' We're tickled to death that we've been able to get four out of five top 10s. We're excited about that. It definitely builds confidence. Some of those races we got there by virtue of different things. We didn't race there like we wanted to, but we're getting better

and better all the time. We've still got a lot of work to do, but we'll take 'em when we can get 'em. It definitely feels good."

COMMENT ON GOING BACK TO ATLANTA AFTER RUNNING SO WELL THERE IN THE FIRST RACE

"I can honestly say I don't think we were going to finish there because we were fading back before we had a problem. It felt good, and we'll go back with way different stuff. That's where the confidence comes. We're learning more about our chassis every week and learning how to make them go faster. I'm looking forward to Atlanta. We're running better on the mile and a half tracks. Confidence comes from the past four out of five weeks and knowing we've figured out some stuff that will apply to next week."

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU SAW THE 48 AND 11 BATTLING AT THE END?

"I kinda of got close to them, but they had faster cars than I did so it was just better for me to watch. I needed to be in position to clear it instead of being in it. It was a good show to watch."

COMMENT ON THE 43 AND 45 FINISHING IN THE TOP 10

"It was great. Kyle had a good car all day and ran good. It's a good confidence booster for all our guys. You've got to crawl, walk and then run. We're getting closer to running. I'm enjoying it."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP