Terry Labonte to Drive ...
Terry Labonte to Drive #11 at Infineon Raceway
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (June 14, 2005) - Joe Gibbs Racing has hired two-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Terry Labonte to pilot the #11 Chevrolet during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. He replaces Jason Leffler, the #11 team's regular driver, for this one event.
"Jason understands that our support of him continues, as he'll race this weekend at Michigan and return to the #11 at Daytona (Fla.)," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing.
"A number of factors led to this decision. Where the #11 is in points, the typically high car count at Sonoma, the number of road course specialists other teams tend to enlist, the unique nature of road course racing - none favors a team outside the top-35 in points.
"With an experienced veteran in Terry, the #11 will benefit from his 25 years of Nextel Cup racing and his strong performances at road course venues."
In addition to his championship-caliber talents, Labonte also brings road course success to the #11 team. Of his 22 career wins, two have come at a road course - the defunct Riverside (Calif.) Speedway in 1984 and 1985. And in his 54 career starts at road courses, Labonte has earned eight poles, 17 top-fives and 26 top-10s while leading a total of 411 laps.
"I've always enjoyed road course racing, and while no road courses were planned for this year, it's hard to say no when you have the opportunity to drive for an organization that's just as professional as Hendrick Motorsports," said Labonte, who is running a limited Nextel Cup schedule for Hendrick Motorsports.
"We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports for allowing Terry to assist us with the #11 team at Sonoma," said Gibbs. "Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports helped get Joe Gibbs Racing up and running when we formed this team back in 1991, and 14 years later, we're once again appreciative of their help."
Terry Labonte's addition to Joe Gibbs Racing for the Sonoma race is a natural, as Terry's younger brother, Bobby, is a 10-year veteran of Joe Gibbs Racing, having piloted the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet since 1995.
The Labonte brothers are the only brothers in NASCAR history to win Cup Series championships. Terry won the title in 1984 and 1996, while Bobby won in 2000.