Pocono II: Bobby Labonte preview

BOBBY LABONTE PENNSYLVANIA 500 NOTES AND QUOTES HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, July 18, 2005 -- The following are Pennsylvania 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs ...

BOBBY LABONTE PENNSYLVANIA 500 NOTES AND QUOTES

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, July 18, 2005 -- The following are Pennsylvania 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

PENNSYLVANIA 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:

Labonte will attempt to start his 26th race at Pocono Raceway. He won both races at the track in 1999 and won the 2001 fall race.

In 25 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 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 (13).

On June 12, in the Pocono 500, Labonte finished 26th after an accident in the tunnel turn ended his day on the penultimate lap of the race.

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.

The primary car for the Pocono 500 is 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.

The back-up car is chassis No. 78, the car Labonte used at Dover, where he finished 38th after engine problems ended his day after just 51 laps. The chassis was also used in 2004 at both Pocono races where he finished third and 29th (accident). Also in 2004, Labonte used the car to finish eighth at Las Vegas, 18th at Atlanta (spring), 18th at New Hampshire (fall) and 17th at Charlotte (fall). In 2003, the car was used in the second Atlanta race, where Labonte finished fifth. Chassis No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole for both races at Michigan and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.

PENNSYLVANIA 500 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion): "We had a good run last week, and we just need to keep that momentum going. The guys have been working hard all year and we've had some things happened to us, but everyone has kept plugging along. That's all you can do. We're just taking it week-by-week."

(About going to Pocono): "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 struggled there in the first race and it ended with a wreck, one of the harder hits I've had. We learned some things though and we'll see what happens."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Brian Vickers
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing