The Nextel: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, May 17, 2004 -- The following are NEXTEL All-Star Challenge pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. NEXTEL ALL-STAR CHALLENGE PRE-RACE...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, May 17, 2004 -- The following are NEXTEL All-Star Challenge pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

NEXTEL ALL-STAR CHALLENGE PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his 10th All-Star race at Charlotte. He finished second in 1997 and 1998, third in 2003 and fourth in 2001. Labonte and the Interstate Batteries pit crew won the pole for the event in 1995 and 1999.

* By winning at Atlanta (spring) and Homestead in 2003, Labonte qualified for the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.

* In the 2003 All-Star event, Labonte started 21st and finished third. He was penalized 20 seconds during qualifying for a pit-road speed violation.

* In addition to his nine All-Star starts, Labonte competed in the Winston Open in 1993 and 1994, but failed to transfer into the All-Star race.

* Labonte has two wins at Charlotte, including his first career NEXTEL Cup victory, which took place in 1995 at the Coca-Cola 600. He also won the fall race in 2000 on his way to the championship.

* In 33 races at Charlotte, Labonte has finished in the top five 14 times (42 percent).

* The primary car for the NEXTEL All-Star race will be No. 62, the car Labonte drove in 2003 at the All-Star race when he finished third. The car was also used at the first Pocono event in 2003 when Labonte finished 16th.

* The back-up car 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 North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway, which Labonte initiated with members of the NCQMA, is nearing completion. A webcam located at www.ncqma.com provides a live look at the construction taking place in Rowan County, N.C.

NEXTEL ALL-STAR CHALLENGE PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "I would love to be able to get a win in the All-Star race. I've come close a couple times before, but never been able to close the deal out. It's always an interesting event. The three-segment deal can be good if you're not running well. It gives you a chance to makes some changes to your car during the breaks they have. At the same time though, if you're running decent, you also don't want to over adjust or over think it, which is very easy to do. The track goes through a lot of changes, usually, and that is the one thing you have to be prepared for, but you just don't want to over adjust it."

-jgr-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing