Labonte Brothers to Co-Drive DORAN JE4 Pontiac In Rolex Series Race at Watkins Glen Friday Night LEBANON, Ohio, Aug. 9 - What do the late Formula 1 ace Graham Hill, sports car drivers Derek Bell and the late Al Holbert, and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup ...
Labonte Brothers to Co-Drive DORAN JE4 Pontiac In Rolex Series Race at Watkins Glen Friday Night
LEBANON, Ohio, Aug. 9 - What do the late Formula 1 ace Graham Hill, sports car drivers Derek Bell and the late Al Holbert, and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers Mark Martin and Terry Labonte have in common?
They all have three or more victories at Watkins Glen International.
In 1991 Terry Labonte won the first NASCAR Busch Grand National race at the upstate New York road course. That began an impressive streak of four victories in six years, including three consecutive victories in 1994 through 1996.
Labonte is actually the most successful NASCAR Busch series driver in Watkins Glen history with four career victories in 1991, 1994, 1995 and 1996. He's also the track's all-time Busch series pole-winning driver with two (1990 and 1995), and he holds the record for winning the fastest Busch series race ever run here (1996).
Labonte and his younger brother, fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Bobby Labonte, will try to add another victory to their long list of accomplishments when they share Doran Labonte Racing's Daytona USA DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 44 in the CompUSA 200 Grand American Rolex series race at the Glen this Friday night.
Terry Labonte is winding down his NEXTEL Cup career this year and he isn't entered in Sunday's SIRIUS at the Glen stock car race, but Bobby Labonte will be going for a victory in that event too with his Joe Gibbs Racing Interstate Batteries Chevy No. 18.
But before that, both brothers will drive one of 23 Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex series race Friday night. Twenty-four GT cars are entered too for a solid field totalling 47 cars. The race will be covered on a same-day, tape-delayed basis beginning at 10 p.m. ET Friday night on SPEED.
A NASCAR Busch series race will follow on Saturday before the NEXTEL Cup race on Sunday.
When asked about his previous endurance sports car appearances at the Glen during a press conference at the recent Rolex race at Barber Motorsports Park, Bobby Labonte told the following story:
"I ran a Firestone Firehawk race there [at Watkins Glen] in 1991 with six or eight other guys. I was going to drive a Porsche.
"The first practice for the 24-hour race, the guy leaves pit row and turns over on the back straightaway. I was thinking this was a 24-hour race, and I'd think you would take it easy at the first practice.
"We were down to one car, and there were six or eight of us who each drove one lap, came in, stopped, and someone else got in.
"Then I had to go back and run a Busch Grand National race [at another track]. I flew back up there [to the Glen] after the Busch race. When I got there, I wanted to go to bed because it was around midnight, but they said 'Here, you drive.'
"I'm thinking I would drive the Porsche, but they said, 'No, we have a Camaro for you.' It's not quite what I expected. When I got in it there were two sets of seat belts, one for a big boy and one for a little boy. The other guy weighed about 350 pounds. I got in, moved the seat forward, and ran at midnight.
"It's my first nighttime ride, and only my second lap around the track. I saw headlights, and I knew I had to be careful. Here comes the headlights; they finally got there, and it was a Honda CR-X!
"So finally I run my stint, went to bed, and then I got up and did one more stint, but the battery fell out of it coming across the last corner. I just happened to get to pit road.
"The guy said, 'Hey! We'll get this fixed and get you back out!,' but I said, 'No, I have to catch an early flight; I'll see you later....
"Other than a Busch car and a Cup car, I've run a Camaro up there, I guess."
He'll get more experience during practice sessions at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday and qualifying for the Daytona Prototype class at 3:45 p.m. One more hour of practice will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday.
An autograph session is slated for 2:30 p.m. on Friday followed by the 200-mile, 82-lap, two-hour race at 6 p.m.
For more information, please see doranracing.com. Bobby Labonte's Web site is at bobbylabonte.com, and information on Terry Labonte can be found at hendrickmotorsports.com.
Other interesting information can be found at grandamerican.com, theglen.com, speedtv.com and restartcommunications.com.