Watkins Glen: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2004 -- The following are Sirius at the Glen pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. SIRIUS AT THE GLEN PRE-RACE NOTES: * ...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2004 -- The following are Sirius at the Glen pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

SIRIUS AT THE GLEN PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his 12th race at Watkins Glen. He started on the Bud Pole for the 2000 race because qualifying was rained out and the field lined-up based on owner's points.

* In 11 starts at Watkins Glen, Labonte has two top-five finishes (fifth, 1996 and 2000) and six top 10 finishes (fifth, 1996 and 2000; sixth, 1995; seventh, 1993; ninth, 2001; 10th, 1998). As a Raybestos Rookie in 1993 driving for Bill Davis Racing, Labonte finished seventh, tying his best finish of the season. He also finished seventh that season at Dover.

* In 2004 at Watkins Glen, Labonte started 9th and finished 14th.

* Labonte has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 2004.

* After finishing 15th Aug. 8 in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Labonte gained one spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, moving from ninth to eighth. He has 2,584 points and his 511 behind leader Jimmie Johnson and 33 points behind seventh-place Kurt Busch.

* Labonte has had success at the five tracks on the schedule before the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" begins Sept. 19 at New Hampshire.

* Watkins Glen - six top-10 finishes.

* Michigan -- three wins, nine top-five finishes and four Bud Poles

* Bristol -- two top-five and four top-10 finishes in the last six races at the track.

* California -- four top-five finishes including second in 2003 and fifth in 2004.

* Richmond -- average finish of 3.6 in last three races at RIR

* The primary car for the Sirius at the Glen is No. 86, the car Labonte drove to ninth-place finish with in 2003 at Watkins Glen. He also used the car at in June 2004 at Infineon Raceway where he started 10th and finished 33rd. A punctured tire and a ruptured oil line caused Labonte to lose six laps in that evet.

* The back-up car will be No. 80, the car Labonte drove finished 14th with at Infineon in 2003.

SIRIUS AT THE GLEN PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "You really have zero time to relax in the car at Watkins Glen. You have to have patience as it is a rhythm type of track, but you can't sit back either. The competition is so tough, you can't rest at all at a place like that. You are always trying to think ahead as to where you can make your next pass. It's also very important to hit all of your marks out there like it is any track we go to, but if you get off-track just a little bit, or get shuffled around in traffic, you are going to the rear of the field quickly at the Glen. It just upsets your rhythm, and it can take a lap or two to get going again. When I was able to start on the pole up there in 2000, (qualifying rained out) we were able to lead 15 or 20 laps and we ended up finishing fifth that day. That was a good day, but you almost need to have a perfect day on and off the track to find victory lane at a road-course. I think the preparation in the shop is where a road-course race is won or lost. There is so much work that goes into the transmissions and gears and especially the braking systems on these cars. Every detail matters, and to me, that's where all the team work and behind the scenes stuff pays off. We have a limited amount of practice time and we can't be wasting it on parts and pieces that aren't working properly."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , Bill Davis Racing