BUSCH: Bobby Labonte and Shell Team Ready for Richmond

BOBBY LABONTE AND SHELL TEAM READY FOR RICHMOND RICHMOND, VA - Bobby Labonte will drive the Shell Pontiac for teammate Tony Stewart in the June 5 Hardee’s 250 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will mark the third time...

BOBBY LABONTE AND SHELL TEAM READY FOR RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VA - Bobby Labonte will drive the Shell Pontiac for teammate Tony Stewart in the June 5 Hardee’s 250 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will mark the third time Labonte has joined the Shell team this season in NASCAR Busch Grand National competition.

Stewart is unable to drive the Shell Pontiac at Richmond due to the contractual commitment he has with Menard Racing to compete in the Indy Racing League event in Texas.

“I am enjoying this substitute driver role,” said Labonte. “It keeps me active in the Busch Series, which I have always enjoyed, and in touch with the Shell crew. We work hard to qualify well, win the races we run and have fun doing it. Richmond will be a little tougher for us, but the Shell team is up to the challenge.

“In the past, we have qualified well at Richmond and had opportunities for good finishes,” stated Labonte, “But had little things happen that have kept us from getting to victory lane. This year, I feel we have a strong chance to turn that trend around. The Shell team had a successful three-day test earlier in the spring with Tony. Bryant (Frazier, crew chief) and the crew feel they gained knowledge that will give us the information we need to turn our good qualifying setup into a solid race setup. Having a one-day schedule at Richmond puts added pressure on everyone to make changes quickly. We’re going to give a 100% effort to continue the string of good qualifying runs and solid finishes the team has earned the last three races.”

Prior to this season, Labonte was the owner/driver of the Shell-sponsored team running a limited BGN schedule. Following the sale of the team to Joe Gibbs Racing, Shell Oil Company made the decision to continue as the primary sponsor for 1998.

Labonte has nine NASCAR BGN victories to his credit. He has garnered 47 top- five and 87 top-ten finishes and was crowned the series champion in 1991. In previous Richmond International Raceway competition, Labonte has three top- five finishes, his best being two third place finishes.

Shell is an associate sponsor of Labonte’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Winston Cup car. Currently ranked seventh in the Winston Cup point standings, Labonte has captured two victories in 1998 - Atlanta and Talladega.

The Hardee’s 250 is scheduled for Friday, June 5 beginning at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). The race will be broadcast live by ESPN2. Radio coverage will be live on MRN reaching over 400 affiliate stations nationwide.

SHELL OIL PRE-RACE FACT SHEET AND DRIVER QUOTES

WHO:                Joe Gibbs Racing/Shell Oil Products Company Pontiac
                Driver:  Bobby Labonte - Crew Chief:  Bryant Frazier

WHAT: HARDEE’S 250 250 Laps/187.5 Miles Race 14 of 31 - NASCAR Busch Grand National Series

WHEN: June 5, 1998

WHERE: Richmond International Raceway - .750 Mile Speedway Richmond, VA

SHELL DRIVER QUOTES:

Bobby Labonte

“I am enjoying this substitute driver role. It keeps me active in the Busch Series, which I have always enjoyed, and in touch with the Shell crew. We work hard to qualify well and win the races we run and have fun doing it. Richmond will be a little tougher for us, but the Shell team is up to the challenge.

“In the past, we have qualified well at Richmond and had opportunities for good finishes but had little things happen that have kept us from getting to victory lane. This year, I feel we have a strong chance to turn that trend around. The Shell team had a successful three-day test earlier in the spring with Tony. Bryant (Frazier, crew chief) and the crew feel they gained knowledge that will give us the information we need to turn our good qualifying setup into a solid race setup. Having a one-day schedule at Richmond puts added pressure on everyone to make changes quickly. We’re going to give a 100% effort to continue the string of good qualifying runs and solid finishes the team has earned the last three races.”

LABONTE NASCAR BGN STATS: YEAR STARTS POLES WINS TOP 5 TOP 10 WINNINGS 1982-89 16 0 0 1 3 $30,786 1990-97 139 9 8 45 82 $1,175,118 1998 2 1 1 1 2 $44,575 TOTALS 157 10 9 47 87 $1,250,479

LABONTE RICHMOND BGN STATS: STARTS POLES WINS TOP 5 TOP 10 WINNINGS SPRING RACE 5 0 0 2 4 $28,350 TOTAL RIR 10 1 0 3 7 $49,579

SHELL MOTORSPORTS:

NASCAR: In August 1997, Shell announced their title sponsorship program with Joe Gibbs Racing. The Shell car is being driven by NASCAR rookie racing sensation Tony Stewart on the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series.

CART: Shell is the proud sponsor of legendary CART driver Bobby Rahal and his motorsports team, which includes rising star and Rahal protégé, Bryan Herta. Shell recently renewed its sponsorship of "Team Rahal" to extend through the end of the century.

CRAIG BREEDLOVE'S SPIRIT OF AMERICA: Shell's sponsorship of Craig Breedlove, the 5-time "World Land Speed" record holder, dates back to the 1960's. Breedlove is the first person ever to break the 400, 500 and 600-mph marks in a land vehicle. Breedlove's jet- powered, 48,000 horsepower Spirit of America runs on Formula Shell Premium Gasoline.

SECONDARY SPONSORSHIP

NASCAR: Shell is secondary sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Winston Cup Series Racing team. The Pontiac Grand Prix is driven by Bobby Labonte who has established himself as one of the top drivers in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The 33-year-old Labonte grabbed his first victory at the 1995 Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina. To date, he has captured seven wins in NASCAR’s premier series. Gibbs is the former head coach of the National Football League’s Washington Redskins and has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. NHRA: Shell is a secondary sponsor of both Joe Gibbs Racing NHRA teams. The Top Fuel car is driven by Cory McClenathan and the Funny Car is driven by Cruz Pedregon. The 35-year-old McClenathan is a 23-time NHRA national event winner. At 34 years old, Pedregon has garnered 19 NHRA national event victories.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Bobby Rahal , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing