Atlanta: Bobby Labonte preview

Labonte Dominant at Atlanta Driver Has Most Wins Since 1997 This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the ...

Labonte Dominant at Atlanta
Driver Has Most Wins Since 1997

This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the 1.54-mile Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500.

Labonte will be making his 29th start at the track in a Nextel Cup car. He leads all active drivers in victories at the track with six wins (1996, 97, 98, 99, 2001, 03). Labonte also has the most wins of any driver at the Atlanta since it was reconfigured for the November race of 1997. Labonte has scored five wins on the track since. He has a career record of 13 top-10 and 12 top-five finishes at the track, two poles (1996, 1999) and has led 957 laps. Labonte also holds the race record for a 500 mile race.

Petty Enterprises has six wins (1966, 1970, 71, 74, 75, 77) at the track with Richard Petty behind the wheel. Petty also holds the record at the track for most top 10 finishes (33).

Comments from Labonte as he prepares for this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500:

Do you feel confident every time you go to Atlanta?

"I like going to Atlanta. It has been a good track for me. I'm looking at where we are at right now with this Cheerios/Betty Crocker team. Las Vegas was a good weekend for us. We had our problems on Friday, but overcame them with a good finish on Sunday (Labonte finished 13th). Anytime you can do that, as a team, it proves you can do some pretty special things. We're going in a good direction.

"Definitely, we're all looking forward to this weekend. We always have high expectations. That's not going to change this weekend. But, we know we have a good chance of coming out Atlanta with a good run. We led laps here last year at this race. We had a descent finish in the fall race too. Hopefully this weekend will be another good run for us."

Have you had anything to compare this weekend's race too this season?

"I don't know. Sometimes you can look at Las Vegas and get a good idea of what you might have for Atlanta. That's not the case this year. Las Vegas was such a different race because of the circumstances with the track and the harder tire. Daytona is a 'plate' race, California is a bigger two-mile track and then Vega was just different. Atlanta will be the first race that we really get a good idea of what we have for the 'intermediate' tracks.

"We feel confident that we'll have a good car. We have done a lot of work over the winter months to continue to improve. This weekend is a good barometer of up-coming races because we have so many races on tracks that are similar to Atlanta. Everyone wants to see good results this weekend."

What are your expectations?

"We want to win every week. More importantly, though, we want to continue to improve. We're right in the middle now in points. They are important. Right now, you can get shuffled back in a hurry or you can jump up some too. That's not going to be the case in a few more weeks. It's going to start to get tight really soon. The top 12 positions in points, everyone is looking at those spots, and everyone wants to get there. We have expectations to be there. Performance each week is important. Atlanta is a great chance for us to make more strides to the front."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Richard Petty