Martinsville II: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Monday, Oct. 18, 2004 -- The following are Subway 500 and Kroger 200 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (NEXTEL Cup) and the No. 47 Chevrolet ...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Monday, Oct. 18, 2004 -- The following are Subway 500 and Kroger 200 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (NEXTEL Cup) and the No. 47 Chevrolet Silverado for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (Craftsman Trucks):

SUBWAY 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his 26th race at Martinsville Speedway. He won the spring race in 2002 and won the pole for the spring race in 1995.

* Labonte has four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes at Martinsville. He has finished fourth or better in four of the last six races at Martinsville.

* On April 18 at Martinsville, Labonte started 23rd and finished second to Rusty Wallace.

* In 2003, Labonte started 39th in the spring race at Martinsville, but managed to finish second behind Jeff Gordon. In the fall race, Labonte started 20th and finished 41st after engine problems ended his day after 271 laps.

* Labonte has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 2004.

* Labonte finished 17th Oct. 16 at Charlotte. He is 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings with 3,652 points, 10 points behind 13th-place Kevin Harvick and 26 points ahead of 15th-place Kasey Kahne.

* The primary car for the Subway 500 will be No. 84, the car Labonte drove to second-place April 18 at Martinsville, third-place May 15 at Richmond, 17th July 25 at New Hampshire and 16th Sept. 11 at Richmond. Labonte also used the car in 2003 at the fall New Hampshire race and the Phoenix event. He finished 16th and New Hampshire and 36th at Phoenix after being involved in a late-race accident.

* The back-up car is No. 64, the car Labonte used to finish second with at Martinsville and Richmond in the spring of 2003.

KROGER 200 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his second career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event, almost eight years to the day of his first. Labonte started 24th and finished 34th in the No. 77 Rotary Lift Chevrolet on Oct. 26, 1996 in the GM Goodwrench 300 at Phoenix International Raceway. He completed only 31 of the 186 laps after a valve problem ended his day.

* Some interesting names appear in the box score from Labonte's only truck series start. Jack Sprague won the event, while Johnny Benson, Joe Ruttman, Mike Skinner and Ted Musgrave rounded out the top-five. All but Ruttman are regulars in the 2004 Craftsman Truck Series. Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 1972 Daytona 500 champion A.J. Foyt participated in the race, as did NASCAR legend Harry Gant. Robbie Rieser, who now serves as Matt Kenseth's NEXTEL Cup crew chief, also drove in the event.

* Labonte will drive the No. 47 Chevrolet Silverado for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports as a teammate to Truck Series veteran Dennis Setzer. Labonte and Setzer competed against each other several times in late-models at Caraway Speedway in Ashboro, N.C. Labonte won the track championship in 1987, while Setzer won three consecutive championship from 1988-90.

SUBWAY 500/KROGER 200 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, No. 47 Chevrolet Silverado; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion): "We need to get back on track and get back in the top 10. It's that simple. We've not performed at the level we need to, and while we're working hard to get there, we just haven't had the results. We had a good run at Martinsville in the spring and would like to finish one position higher than we did in April." (About competing in the Kroger 200 Craftsman Truck Series event as a teammate to Dennis Setzer): "I'm looking forward to racing in the truck race for Morgan-Dollar and Chevy. Dennis a good friend, and he and I had some great battles back in the late 80's at Caraway Speedway. We were rivals, but very friendly rivals. I think people tried to make it a bigger rivalry than it was, like we hated each other or something like that. That wasn't true at all. All the times I raced him, I don't think he ever touched me or I ever touched him. It was just good, clean racing that was a lot of fun. It'll be a neat deal to race against him again. I think when I won the championship at Caraway, we were tied at the end of the season and I won because I had more wins. So, we've always raced each other close, but clean. I've only driven a truck once and that was at Phoenix in 1996. It didn't last very long, so hopefully, we'll have a better outcome this time. But, either way it should be fun."

-jc-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Johnny Benson , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Joe Ruttman , Kasey Kahne , Harry Gant , A.J. Foyt
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing