HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, June 8, 2004 -- The following are Pocono 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. POCONO 500 PRE-RACE NOTES: Labonte will attempt to...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, June 8, 2004 -- The following are Pocono 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.
POCONO 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:
Labonte will attempt to start his 23th race at Pocono Raceway. He won both races at the track in 1999 and won the 2001 fall race.
In 22 starts at Pocono, Labonte has four top-five finishes. In addition to his three wins, he finished fourth in 1998. He has six career top-10 finishes at Pocono, and they all 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 (23 starts), Indianapolis (10), Infineon (11),
After finishing 25th at Dover, Labonte fell from sixth to eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. It marked the first time since April at Texas that Labonte moved down in points. He has 1,642 points and his 321 behind leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. He is just four points behind seventh-place Elliott Sadler and six points behind sixth-place Kurt Busch.
The primary car for the Pocono 500 is No. 78, the car Labonte used March 7 at Las Vegas, where he started seventh and finished eighth. He also raced the car March 14 at Atlanta where he started 10th and finished 18th. In 2003, the car was used the in the second Atlanta race where Labonte finished fifth. Car No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole at both Michigan races and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.
The back-up car will be 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.
POCONO 500 PRE-RACE QUOTE:
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion):
"There isn't another track we race at that's quite like Pocono. 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." (About the points race): "We fell in the points for the first time in awhile, so we need to get back on track. We're not that far out of sixth, but more important than anything, we need to get a win under our belts this year. A win at Pocono would give us great momentum going into Michigan, which is my favorite track."