Texas II: Terry Labonte's final race interview

TERRY LABONTE , NO. 44 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS - FINAL CUP RACE: ON HIS EMOTIONS AFTER TODAY'S RACE: "Well it was near as good as we had hoped for. I knew our car was a little bit too loose in practice yesterday. We made some changes on...

TERRY LABONTE , NO. 44 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS - FINAL CUP RACE:

ON HIS EMOTIONS AFTER TODAY'S RACE:

"Well it was near as good as we had hoped for. I knew our car was a little bit too loose in practice yesterday. We made some changes on it but we didn't make near enough I guess. I didn't realize Rick was going to give me a car so it was so bad I decided we needed to come behind the wall and work on it a little bit because I didn't want to tear it up. It's been a great ride and a lot of fun. I've really enjoyed this series all these years. I guess everything comes to an end sometime. I've been doing this for a long time. I've been very fortunate in my career to have been with some really good teams and been able to win a couple of championships and win some races and have a lot of good runs.

"A few years ago I was sitting in the drivers meeting and I was looking around and half these drivers are younger than my kids. I thought you know what I don't know how much longer I'm going to do this. I decided a couple of years ago to run the limited schedule and then wind up our career here and so here we are. The past two years went pretty fast but I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to be doing but anyway it's where we are."

ARE YOU CONTENT RIDING OFF INTO THE SUNSET?

"You know, I don't know. As I ride 'em out, yeah. If I decide to do something different down the road I might decide that. I'm pretty sure you won't see me behind the wheel of a car anymore. I feel like I've done this for a long time. I've been very fortunate over the years. I'm going to be 50 years old in a couple of weeks and so there comes a point when you're any kind of athlete in any kind of sport it's going to be time to retire some day. I think it's here from me.

"I'm just very fortunate to be in motorsports and I've been able to have a career that lasted as long as it did. You look at some of the other sports and guys can't compete near that long. The other thing that's neat about it is I was able to go out when I wanted to go out and not because of some circumstances that were out of my control."

WAS THERE ANY TIME TODAY THAT YOU GOT CHOKED UP? HOW SPECIAL WAS IT TO HAVE YOUR DAUGHTER GIVE YOU THE START YOUR ENGINES COMMAND AND HAVE JUSTIN NEXT TO YOU TOO?

"It was pretty cool and it was a really awesome day. I think the only time I almost got choked was when I was giving my little speech up there and I was talking about Rick and I was going to mention his family and I couldn't do it. He's been a great guy and a great owner.

"I looked over that at Justin and before I got in the car I looked at that car and I said man be careful of that thing because it didn't look like it could go that fast or something. It was really pretty cool before the race the car was sitting there and all the guys that came up looked at it and all the other drivers and they couldn't believe it as far as how the cars used to look back in the '80s. That was the car that was actually the car I won the 1980 Southern 500 with. I think that car was probably built in '79. They've come a long way and the safety features are completely different. That car really didn't have much other than the seat belts and roll bars so NASCAR has done a great job. That was a pretty good look if you wanted to look at both cars there beside each other."

HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK BACK TO BILLY HAGAN GETTING YOU STARTED?

"It was really cool. Billy was here at the race today and he was at our fan club thing last night. There's so many guys across the country that have as much talent or more than I ever had and I was just in the right place at the right time and met Billy and he gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. To be able to move to North Carolina and drive in the NASCAR series, which was the Winston Cup Series back then. It was just a real opportunity of a lifetime. When I went over there I never figured I might run more than one or two races and then it was three or four. It's amazing we came this far. I never really knew what to expect. I never took anything for granted. I just did my best week after week."

WHAT WOULD YOU THINK OF A SENIOR TOUR?

"I hope they'd run senior cars too (laughs). No, I don't know. That would be great as long as its on short tracks, half-mile tracks or something like that. I think that'd be a pretty expensive proposition for somebody to come up with. I'd probably do pretty good in it because I'd be one of the youngest oldest guys there (laughs).

-credit: gm racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Terry Labonte