SHELL TEAM TO MISS NAZARETH NASCAR BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL RACE BOBBY LABONTE TO DRIVE SHELL PONTIAC AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY CHARLOTTE, NC - The Shell team will not participate in the May 17 Corestates 200 NASCAR Busch Grand National...
SHELL TEAM TO MISS NAZARETH NASCAR BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL RACE BOBBY LABONTE TO DRIVE SHELL PONTIAC AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
CHARLOTTE, NC - The Shell team will not participate in the May 17 Corestates 200 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series event at Nazareth Speedway, Nazareth, PA due to Tony Stewart’s commitment to compete in the Indianapolis 500. Bobby Labonte, Stewart’s teammate, will be unavailable to fill in for Stewart since he will be participating in The Winston event for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Labonte will be behind the wheel of the Shell Pontiac at the May 23 CarQuest Auto Parts 300 Busch race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The changes are the result of Stewart’s contractual agreement to defend his Indy Racing League (IRL) title during the 1998 season.
"“While I am disappointed to miss two Busch races in the Shell Pontiac,"” said Stewart," “I am grateful to Shell Oil and Joe Gibbs Racing for allowing me the opportunity to fulfill my IRL commitment to Team Menard. Bobby and I had a great race at Charlotte last fall. He works very well with the crew and will have a good opportunity to take the Shell Pontiac to the winner’s circle for the second time this season"
"“When he drove the car to victory at Darlington",” Stewart continued, "“I was glued to the television in the IRL transporter cheering him on. I hope I have the opportunity to do it again while I'’m at Indy Winning the Indianapolis 500 is an important achievement for me and I am looking forward to the challenge. It’s regrettable it causes conflict for the Busch team but with the week off, they can focus on the Charlotte race.”
“'’m looking forward to the opportunity to drive the Shell Pontiac at Charlotte,"” said Labonte. " “It is one of my favorite tracks. We have had some great runs there over the past few years. I want to wish Tony the best of luck at Indy. He is really in position to win the Indianapolis 500. It would be tremendous for both of us to bring home a victory that weekend."
Labonte has nine NASCAR BGN victories to his credit. He has garnered 47 top- five and 86 top-ten finishes and was crowned the series champion in 1991. His most recent win came behind the wheel of the Shell Pontiac at Darlington Raceway in the March, 1998 Diamond Hill Plywood 200.
The CarQuest Auto Parts 200 is scheduled for Saturday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The race will be televised live by TBS. Live radio coverage will be provided by PRN