Talladega, AL., April 21-Repeating his finish last year, NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Bobby Labonte, driving the white True Value IROC Pontiac Firebird, won his second True Value IROC Talladega race by .2097 seconds in the second round of the...
Talladega, AL., April 21-Repeating his finish last year, NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Bobby Labonte, driving the white True Value IROC Pontiac Firebird, won his second True Value IROC Talladega race by .2097 seconds in the second round of the 25th True Value IROC series at Talladega Superspeedway.
Veteran open wheel drivers Kenny Brack, of the Cart FedEx Championship Series and Buddy Lazier representing the Northern Light Indy Racing Series made the transition from open wheel to stock car racing look easy. Brack, driving the yellow Pontiac Firebird started in eighth position and finished second. "It was an interesting race, kind of wild. I thought I could catch Bobby at the end, but they were running two-wide and I couldn't get anybody to push me along," said Brack.
In only his second True Value IROC start Lazier, driving the medium blue Firebird started and finished third. According to Lazier, "These drivers are just the best of the best and they are very enjoyable and a lot of fun to race with." With 11 lead changes among six drivers, the race was tightly packed with multiple drivers jockeying for position. Labonte, who started the race from seventh position led early on and later on lap 16, with help from NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett took the lead away from veteran NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.
Picking up five True Value IROC bonus points for leading the most laps, NASCAR Busch Series driver Jeff Green led the most laps during the second half of the race. With only three laps remaining, however, Green lost the lead after a restart. The only incident occurred on lap 37 and involved Cheever, Jr., Lazier, and Jarrett. Cheever, Jr.'s car picked up a push coming off turn four and made contact with Lazier, collecting Jarrett.
Following the restart, with drafting help from veteran Indy Racing Northern Light Series Driver Eddie Cheever Jr., Labonte overtook Green for the lead and never looked back. Labonte crossed the stripe for the second time in his True Value IROC career. According to Labonte, "When they had the restart, I got a push from Cheever and was able to push by Jeff Green. It just seemed like being third on the restart was more of the key factor. I think I was in the right place at the right time."
With his second win at Talladega, Labonte joined True Value IROC champions Al Unser Jr. and Dale Earnhardt as a multiple winner in the series at Talladega. Today's event paid tribute to the reigning champion Earnhardt to whom Labonte credits his win, "For me to be able to win the next IROC race after he ran Daytona, which was his last was great, because I feel like he taught me how 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 and this sport."
The purse for the 2000 True Value IROC series totals of $1,025,000 with $250,000 awarded to the champion based on cumulative point standings at the end of the fourth race.