BUSCH: Texas II: Bobby Labonte preview

BOBBY LABONTE TEXAS NOTES AND QUOTES HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005 -- The following are Dickies 500 and O'Reilly Challenge pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Main Street Getty/IBS of ...


HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005 -- The following are Dickies 500 and O'Reilly Challenge pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Main Street Getty/IBS of Massachusetts/Interstate Batteries Chevrolet (NEXTEL Cup) for Joe Gibbs Racing, and the No. 19 SlimJim Chevrolet (Busch Series) for Joe Gibbs Racing.


* Labonte will attempt to start his 10th NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. He has competed in every NEXTEL Cup event at the 1.5-mile track with a best finish of third in 1997, 1999 and 2000.

* Labonte has won two Bud Poles at Texas (2003, 2004), has five starts of fourth or better and has qualified lower than 15th only once (22nd, spring 2005).

* In April, Labonte started 22nd and was involved in an early accident. After going to the garage for repairs, he finished 38th.

* In 2004, Labonte started on the Bud Pole but finished 25th after an alternator problem caused him to finish four laps down.

* Labonte is 25th in the NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has 3,187 points and is 28 points behind Casey Mears.

* Interstate Batteries, the primary sponsor of the No. 18 car, is located in Dallas, just a short drive from Texas Motor Speedway. Also, Labonte was born in Corpus Christi, Texas.

* The primary car for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 is chassis No. 116, a new car that has not been used in a race before. The team tested the car at Texas last week.

* The back-up car will be 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 Pocono 2, where he finished 30th (engine). The car was driven in 2004 at Dover where Labonte started 18th and finished 25th in the spring and started sixth and finished 14th in the fall. Labonte also used the car in August at Bristol where he started 19th and finished 16th and in November at Darlington when he started 15th and finished ninth. The car was used in 2005 at both Bristol races, where Labonte finished 22nd (accident) and 21st. He also used the car in the fall race at Dover where is started 28th and finished 32nd.


* The O-Reilly Challenge is the seventh of eight Busch Series races the Labonte will compete in for Joe Gibbs Racing and ConAgra Foods. Labonte finished sixth at Charlotte, 16th at Chicagoland, seventh at Michigan, 10th at Bristol, eighth at Richmond and 37th at Kansas (mechanical). In addition Texas, Labonte will compete at Phoenix on Nov. 12 the Slim Jim Chevrolet.

* Labonte has 170 starts in Busch Series competition and has scored nine wins, 48 top-fives and 93 top-10 finishes. He has finished in the top-10 in 55 percent of his Busch Series starts.

* Labonte won the 1991 Busch Series championship on the strength of two wins and 21 top-five finishes. He lost the 1992 title by just three points to Joe Nemechek. The three-point margin is the closest points finish in the history of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch Series or Craftsman Truck Series competition.

* Labonte made his Busch Series debut in 1982 at Martinsville Speedway. He finished 30th and won $220. He then competed in the two races in 1985, six in 1988 and seven in 1989 before competing full-time for the first time in 1990.

* Labonte's last Busch Series victory came in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 March 21, 1998 at Darlington Raceway in the No. 44 Shell Pontiac.

* The primary car for the O'Reilly Challenge is Chassis No. 1959, which Labonte used earlier this year at Charlotte (sixth), Chicagoland (16th), Michigan (seventh) and Kansas (37th, mechanical).

* SlimJim, a longtime sponsor of both Terry and Bobby Labonte, will be the primary sponsor on the No. 19 Chevrolet this week.

* The back-up car is chassis No. 1958, which Labonte used at Bristol to finish 10th.


BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Main Street Getty/IBS of Massachusetts/Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; No. 19 SlimJim Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion): (About racing in Texas): "It's been so long since we have lived there. The fans there are just incredible though. I feel like I have been adopted in a way since we moved from Corpus when I was about 15 or so. We have lived in North Carolina since that time. When we first went there back in 1997 to race at Texas, it was just incredible the people that came up to Terry and I telling us they were so proud of us and what we had accomplished. It has been like that every year and that is kind of cool. It will definitely be busy out there for me, but it will be a lot of fun. Interstate Batteries is based out there in Dallas so they have me doing a lot right when I hit the ground. We've had a long season, but it'd be nice to put a good run together, not only for Interstate in their home market, but also for the folks from Main Street Getty and IBS of Massachusetts, who won the '500 Miles of Fame II' contest. They'll be at the race and we'd like to put a good show on for them." (About having SlimJim on the car): "That's going to be a throwback for sure. We've got a great relationship with ConAgra Foods and my whole family has been associated with SlimJim in one way or another. There are a lot of memories with that brand and I'm looking forward to driving that car again, especially in Texas."


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Joe Nemechek , Casey Mears
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing