Pocono: Bobby Labonte preview

POCONO 500 PRE-RACE NOTES: * Labonte will attempt to start his 25th race at Pocono Raceway. He won both races at the track in 1999 and won the 2001 fall race. * In 24 starts at Pocono, Labonte has five top-five finishes. In addition to...

POCONO 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his 25th race at Pocono Raceway. He won both races at the track in 1999 and won the 2001 fall race.

* In 24 starts at Pocono, Labonte has five top-five finishes. In addition to his three wins, he finished third in 2004 (spring) and finished fourth in 1998 (fall). He has seven career top-10 finishes at Pocono, and six of them came in a seven race stretch from the fall of 1998 through the fall of 2001. The only time he finished outside of the top 10 during that time was when he finished 13th in the 2000 spring race.

* Pocono is one of only four tracks on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series where Labonte has at least 10 starts, yet has failed to win a Bud Pole. The others are Bristol (25 starts), Indianapolis (11), Infineon (12).

* In 2004, Labonte finished third in the spring race at Pocono. In the fall event, he was in the top-10 late in the race when he was involved in an accident in Turn 1 with Brian Vickers. Labonte finished 29th.

* Bad luck has plagued Labonte throughout the 2005 season. He has failed to finish in six of the 13 races due to either an accident not of his making or engine problems. He has completed only 76 percent of the 4,449 laps in 2005.

* The primary car for the Pocono 500 is No. 87, the same car Labonte drove to a 13th-place finish at California and finished 41st with at Las Vegas after an early accident. He also drove the car at Texas where he started 22nd and finished 38th after an early accident. In 2004, Labonte drove the car to second place in March at Darlington and won the Bud Pole with the car in April at Texas. He finished fifth with the car in May at California, eighth in June at Michigan, 13th in May at Charlotte, 15th in August at Indianapolis and 18th in July at Chicagoland. In October, Labonte crashed the car during practice at Charlotte and in the fall Atlanta race, he used the car to start 19th and finish 20th. He also drove the car at the fall race at Atlanta in 2003, where he started second and finished fifth.

* The back-up car is chassis No. 62, the car Labonte drove in All-Star events at Charlotte in 2003 (third-place finish) and 2004 (13th-place finish). The car was also used at the first Pocono event in 2003 when Labonte finished 16th. Labonte used the car at the end of 2004 at Kansas where he started fifth and finished 16th and Homestead where he finished 12th after starting sixth.

POCONO PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion): "There isn't another track we race at that's quite like Pocono. It's a unique racetrack, that's for sure. The three corners are just so different. All three corners are so different in terms of the set-up, so it's important to be open-minded and get as comfortable as possible in the car knowing that one of the corners you might be giving up a little speed in order to gain momentum on the other parts of the track. We had two good runs there last year. We came back from an oil-line problem and finished third in the spring. In the fall, we were in the top 10 before we got wrecked."

-jgr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP