Texan Returns to Defend Title

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 17, 2000) -- Terry Labonte calls Thomasville, N.C., home these days, but in his heart, the Corpus Christi, Texas native is never really that far from his home state. His return to Texas Motor Speedway for the DIRECTV...

FORT WORTH-DALLAS (March 17, 2000) -- Terry Labonte calls Thomasville, N.C., home these days, but in his heart, the Corpus Christi, Texas native is never really that far from his home state. His return to Texas Motor Speedway for the DIRECTV 500 on April 2 will be a special moment for him. "Winning in Texas last year was my biggest win ever," Labonte said. "Having so many friends and family in Texas, it is always very special to do well at home."

Labonte started on the outside of the second row last year in the NASCAR Winston Cup race and outlasted the field to pick up one of his two wins of the season (also won The Winston at Charlotte). Overall, he had seven top 10 finishes in 1999 to finish 12th in the final points standing. But visiting victory lane with the #5 Kellogg's car last year in his home state was the highlight of the year for Labonte.

That was one of what has been many highlights by the man that has been one of the, if not the most, durable and consistent drivers in Winston Cup history. Winner of 21 Winston Cup races coming into the 2000 season, Labonte won the season series in 1984 and again in 1996. He has finished third twice and fourth two times. Long noted for his ability to consistently accumulate championship points each year, his 12th place listing last year was his worst since joining Hendrick Motorsports prior to the 1994 season. But Labonte is out to change that in 2000.

"I always want to be a contender for the championship every year," Labonte said. "I go out and do the best I can, and if we don't win, I want to finish second or third. The key is to be consistent all year. But, I don't mind sacrificing here and there during the year to have our best stuff for the Texas race."

Labonte was the best last year in the Texas race, and he is hoping for a repeat performance in the DIRECTV 500 this year.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Terry Labonte
Teams Hendrick Motorsports