Bobby Labonte Going Truckin' at Martinsville STATESVILLE, NC - Bobby Labonte is going truck racing at Martinsville in the Kroger 200. For only the second time in his NASCAR career, the 2000 Cup champion will compete in the NASCAR Craftsman...
Bobby Labonte Going Truckin' at Martinsville
STATESVILLE, NC - Bobby Labonte is going truck racing at Martinsville in the Kroger 200. For only the second time in his NASCAR career, the 2000 Cup champion will compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Labonte has been tapped as one of the elite seven Chevy Silverado All Star drivers. He will be behind the wheel of the No. 47 Acxiom Celebrity Silverado with a special paint scheme showcasing country music star Josh Turner. Labonte's only previous NCTS start was in 1996 at Phoenix International Raceway in October 1996 where he finished 34th after engine problems brought an early end to his day.
"I'm looking forward to racing in the truck race for Morgan-Dollar and Chevy," said Labonte. "I've only driven a truck once and that was at Phoenix in 1996. It didn't last very long, so hopefully, we'll have a better outcome this time. But, either way it should be fun."
Labonte will team with long-time friend and on-track rival Dennis Setzer. In the early days of their careers, Labonte and Setzer waged great battles in their late models at Caraway Speedway near Asheboro, NC. Setzer is the full-time driver of the No. 46 Morgan Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado and is in a tight battle for the 2004 NCTS championship.
"Dennis a good friend," Labonte continued. "He and I had some great battles back in the late 80's at Caraway Speedway. We were rivals, but very friendly rivals. I think people tried to make it a bigger rivalry than it was, like we hated each other or something like that. That wasn't true at all. All the times I raced him, I don't think he ever touched me or I ever touched him. It was just good, clean racing that was a lot of fun. It'll be a neat deal to race against him again. I think when I won the championship at Caraway, we were tied at the end of the season and I won because I had more wins. So, we've always raced each other close, but clean."
Labonte is the fifth of seven "All Star" drivers to pilot the No. 47 Silverado as part of the Chevy Silverado Celebrity All Stars Team fielded by Morgan Dollar Motorsports. The program pairs NASCAR Nextel Cup Monte Carlo stars with musical celebrities for one NCTS event. Labonte's partner will be Josh Turner with a paint scheme promoting his runaway country music hit, Long Black Train. Turner will be on hand Sunday to sing the National Anthem just prior to the start of the Subway 500 for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
The All Stars debuted at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 21 with Michael Waltrip in the driver's seat of the No. 47 with Sheryl Crow on the hood followed by Robby Gordon with George Thorogood on August 25 at Bristol Motor Speedway and Tony Stewart showcasing Sara Evans September 9 at Richmond International Raceway. All three All Star drivers scored top-five finishes; fifth, fourth and third respectively. Ricky Craven with LeAnn Rimes on the hood at New Hampshire International Speedway was the fourth driver. Craven posted the best qualifying effort thus far for the No. 47 team and was headed to the front but a mid-race accident put him out of competition.
NASCAR veteran Randy Goss will crew chief Labonte and the No. 47 Acxiom Silverado at Martinsville. Goss has an impressive record including championship-winning efforts in both the NCTS and NBS with driver Greg Biffle.
"We have had great runs so far with the All Star truck," said Goss. "Michael (Waltrip) drove the wheels off the No. 47 Silverado. We just had that late race incident that took us out of contention. We had the same formula for Robby (Gordon) at Bristol and he brought us home a solid fourth place finish. Tony (Stewart) gave the fans a thrill with his tremendous third place effort at Richmond and Ricky (Craven) was going to the front at New Hampshire before the accident that put him out of the race."
"Bobby definitely knows his way around Martinsville," Goss concluded. "It is going to be an awesome experience for our team to work with him. I feel like the package we have will make us a serious contender to take a trip to victory lane."
Serving as primary sponsor of the #47 Chevy All-Stars Silverado is Acxiom, a worldwide data services company. Acxiom has been partnered with Morgan Dollar Motorsports since 1998 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. More information on Acxiom Corporation can be found at www.acxiom.com.
Following Labonte/Josh Turner in the No. 47 Silverado will be Ron Hornaday Jr./Big & Rich, Phoenix (November 5); and Ward Burton/Joe Nichols, Darlington (November 12).