By Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com Bobby Labonte. Photo: Thomas Chemris Much attention and focus has been placed on reigning Winston Cup champion Bobby LaBonte to repeat the accomplishments of 2000. Not following that path in cup, ...
By Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com
Bobby Labonte. Photo: Thomas Chemris
Giving credit to the late Dale Earnhardt, Labonte notes "For me to be able to win the next IROC race after Daytona, which was his last was great, because I feel he taught me to do things the right way. This year, without him here, it doesn't seem like a day goes by that you don't think about him. He meant so much to all of us in the sport."
Labonte finished .2097 seconds ahead of Cart Fed EX driver Kenny Brack who has not raced at Talladega since 1999. "It took a lap or two to get the feel again, but then I was comfortable" "I take this series very seriously, and want the best results each time I race". Notes Brack.
During the thirty eight-lap events, there were eleven lead changes among six drivers.
Busch Grand National driver Jeff Green had the distinction of leading the most laps (15) in the event and appeared he would be taking home his first IROC victory.
A late race caution involving Dale Jarrett, Eddie Cheever, and Buddy Lazier regrouped the field, and during the restart, Green got shuffled from first to eighth.
"When they had the restart, I got a push from Cheever, and was able to push by Jeff Green. It seemed like being third on the restart was more of a key factor. I think I was in the right place at the right time." Notes Labonte.
The race win places Labonte in the overall lead in the series with thirty-four points. Followed by, Ricky Rudd (31), Kenny Brack (29), Dale Jarrett (28), and Eddie Cheever Jr. (24), who round out the top five.
Labonte becomes only the third driver in the history of the series to claim multiple victories at the 2.66-mile track, duplicating the accomplishment of Al Unser JR., and Dale Earnhardt.
The IROC series places a group of 12 drivers from various different series and places them in identical cars in an effort to determine the " best, of the best."
During the remainder of the 2001 season, the series will start only 11 cars, in tribute to former series champion Dale Earnhardt, who competed in the series up until his un-timely death.
The next race in the series will be held at Michigan International Speedway on June 9th.