HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2004 -- The following are Bristol pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. SHARPIE 500 PRE-RACE NOTES: * Labonte will...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2004 -- The following are Bristol pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.
SHARPIE 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:
* Labonte will attempt to start his 24th race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has never won at the .533 of a mile oval.
* Labonte has eight top-10 finishes at Bristol, and has finished in the top-10 in four of his last six races, including a third-place finish in last year's spring race.
* In the March race at Bristol, Labonte started 27th and finished 33rd after being involved in a three-car accident on Lap 101. After his crew repaired the car, Labonte finished the race 72 laps down.
* Labonte has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 2004.
* After finishing 26th Michigan, Labonte remained ninth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Kevin Harvick is 33 points ahead of Labonte, while Kasey Kahne is just seven points behind Labonte. The difference in points between ninth-place Labonte and 15th-place McMurray is only 77 points.
* Labonte has had success at the three tracks remaining on the schedule before the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" begins Sept. 19 at New Hampshire.
* Bristol -- two top-five and four top-10 finishes in the last six races at the track.
* California -- four top-five finishes including second in 2003 and fifth in 2004.
* Richmond -- average finish of 3.6 in last three races at RIR
* The primary car for the Sharpie 500 is chassis No. 74, the car Labonte used to win the pole and finish fourth with in 2003 at Las Vegas. Labonte also drove the car in 2003 at California, where he finished second and at the second Pocono race, where he finished 30th after an engine problem ended his day early. The car was driven at Dover in 2004 when Labonte started 18th and finished 25th.
* The back-up car will be No. 66, the car Labonte drove to second place with March 21 at Darlington and the car he won the Bud Pole with April 2 at Texas. He finished fifth with the car May 2 at California, eighth June 20 at Michigan International Speedway, 13th May 30 at Charlotte, 15th Aug. 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 18th July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. Labonte also used the car at the fall race at Atlanta in 2003, where he started second and finished fifth.
SHARPIE 500 PRE-RACE QUOTE:
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "The night race at Bristol is pretty unique. I don't think there is anything really like it on the schedule. You need a little bit of luck on your side at Bristol because the wrecks are going to happen and not getting caught up in them is difficult. Things happen so fast and it's hard to get through a wreck when it happens right in front of you. You try to be patient and stay calm in the car, but sometimes your emotions can get the best of you there is beating and banging going on for 500 laps. With the points chase as tight as it is heading into the final three races before the chase starts, Bristol could be pretty interesting."