BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX: * Today marks the 10th anniversary of Bobby Labonte's first NASCAR Winston Cup start, which came at Dover Downs on June 2, 1991. The Corpus Christi, Texas native started 33rd and ...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
* Today marks the 10th anniversary of Bobby Labonte's first NASCAR Winston Cup start, which came at Dover Downs on June 2, 1991. The Corpus Christi, Texas native started 33rd and finished 34th in a car that he owned.
* The start came during the same season as his Busch Series title.
* Labonte won his first Winston Cup race in his 74th start (May 28, 1995) and has a total of 16 career victories. Since winning his first race, Labonte has averaged one win every 12.25 starts.
WHAT DO YOU RECALL ABOUT THAT FIRST START?
"I think we had something like eight guys that worked on both our Busch car and the Winston Cup car that weekend. We brought the Busch car up here and then we had like a pickup truck and an enclosed trailer for the Winston Cup car."
WHY DOVER FOR YOUR FIRST START?
"They never had enough cars up here at that time, so it was the best place to make a race. I wasn't stupid."
WHAT CHANGES STICK OUT MOST IN YOUR MIND WHEN COMPARING THEN TO NOW?
"Just everything that goes into a car - bodies, chassis, people - everything. It was way different then than it is now. It was quite a bit simpler. A pickup and a trailer isn't going to get it today."
DID YOU HAVE ANY CAREER EXPECTATIONS AT THAT TIME?
"Our main deal was the Busch Series at that time. We were planning to run five Winston Cup races that year. But after the first two we said, 'You know, I don't think we need to be doing this anymore.' We just couldn't concentrate on the Busch Series and that kind of effort at the same time. We were trying to bite off more than we could chew. With what little I knew about it at that time, it was definitely not the right choice. I thought, 'Yeah, we could do this. It'll be great.' But, it wasn't going to be that way.
"You always have ambitions that make you think you can do everything. But when it comes down to reality, you can only do one thing half as good as you think you can. If you try to do anything else, you're going to achieve even less.
"It was good that we decided not to keep going. That was the smartest thing we did that year."
CAN YOU BELIEVE YOU WON BOTH A BUSCH TITLE AND A WINSTON CUP CHAMPIONSHIP DURING YOUR FIRST 10 YEARS?
"I guess I always hoped and wished I could do it, but I never really knew how it would turn out. Back in 1991 before I won the Busch championship, I didn't realize anything. I didn't take anything for granted. I didn't know I was going to win one [championship], much less two.
"I just appreciate what I've been able to do. But even today, you still take it all year-to-year."