BROOKLYN, Mich., June 14, 2003 -- For the first time since Joe Gibbs Racing went to a two-car effort in 1999, two cars from the stable owned by the former Washington Redskins head football coach will start a NASCAR Winston Cup race on the front...
BROOKLYN, Mich., June 14, 2003 -- For the first time since Joe Gibbs Racing went to a two-car effort in 1999, two cars from the stable owned by the former Washington Redskins head football coach will start a NASCAR Winston Cup race on the front row. Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup champion, won the pole for Sunday's Sirius 400 in his Interstate Batteries Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and teammate Tony Stewart, the 2002 Winston Cup champ and winner of the most recent race at Pocono, will start outside. The two cars have started 1-3 and 1-4 before, but never 1-2.
Gibbs has owned cars in NASCAR since 1992, and his teams have won NASCAR titles in two of the past three seasons. With Labonte's pole-winning run here Friday, Gibbs cars have won 29 poles, 36 races and more than $57 million in prize money since his first season.
BOBBY LABONTE , NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It's pretty good. We're excited about it. It's a good place to start."
YOU'RE ON A STREAK OF TOP-THREE FINISHES IN FIVE OF THE LAST SIX RACES, AND TONY WON AT POCONO. IS IT A COINCIDENCE THAT BOTH TEAMS ARE ON THIS KIND OF A ROLL? "It's just the fact that it has come together for both teams at the same time, more than anything else. Everybody always works hard to make sure that everything is right, but there are so many things that can happen that won't allow it. Yesterday was a situation where we were able to put fast laps up for both teams."
TONY STEWART , NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GIVE JOE GIBBS HIS FIRST FRONT-ROW SWEEP? "It's pretty neat, actually. Bobby and I have finished 1-2 in races, but we've never started that way before. So it's kind of another chapter in the book and another piece of what, two years down the road, will be trivia. It's neat to have in the press kit that Joe Gibbs Racing has had 1-2 finishes in qualifying and races and that we've both won championships."
BOBBY'S BEEN ON A ROLL LATELY, YOU'VE BEEN STRONG AS WELL. IS THAT COINCIDENCE? "Our teams work so well together. In my opinion, we are the best team as far as multi-car teams who communicate and share information and work together to make each other better. When one of us is on a roll like that, the other one seems to find a way of getting on a roll and that keeps us both up at the level where we want to be. If something happens and one of us is having a bad day, the other one is at that level, and they can say, 'here's what we're doing' and it helps us out. I feel like it's a combination that has worked since we started as teammates in 1999."
HOW INTENSE IS THE LEVEL OF COMPETITION BETWEEN THE TEAMS? "Yesterday, I was pretty comfortable. I knew Bobby was probably going to get by us, but it didn't bother me. I just didn't want anyone else to get by. On days that I run second, if Bobby beats me, then I'm happy. If someone else beats us, I'm not so happy. I think we both feel that way. We both want to win races, but we are a team and we look at it that way. If Bobby wins and I run second, I'm tickled to death. If it turns the other way around, he's happy too and we're happy for each other. We feel like if we have a 1-2 finish, that's the ultimate deal for our team. To get two cars and two teams to be good enough on a given day to where we can go out there and win a race and run second, you can't ask for any more than that. That's the ultimate deal for a weekend for us. We really don't care too much, as long as we're finishing like that."