HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Monday, June 27, 2005 -- The following are Pepsi 400 and Brumos Porsche 250 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (NEXTEL Cup) and co-driver of the...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Monday, June 27, 2005 -- The following are Pepsi 400 and Brumos Porsche 250 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (NEXTEL Cup) and co-driver of the No. 44 DAYTONA USA Pontiac Doran for Doran Labonte Racing (Grand American Rolex Series):
PEPSI 400 PRE-RACE NOTES:
Labonte will attempt to start his 25th points-paying race at Daytona International Speedway. He has never scored a victory in NEXTEL Cup competition at Daytona, but finished second in both races at the track in 1998. In addition to the 24 points-paying races, Labonte has also competed in numerous Twin 125-qualifying races and Bud Shootouts.
In his 24 points-paying starts at Daytona, Labonte has won two Bud Poles (both 1998 races) and finished in the top-five in five times.
In the 2004 Pepsi 400, Labonte started 16th and finished seventh.
In the last eight Pepsi 400's, Labonte has finished outside of the top 10 only twice: 2000 (12th) and 2002 (32nd). He finished second in 1998, fifth in 1999, 2001 and 2003, seventh in 2004 and 10th in 1997.
Labonte started 20th and finished 43rd in the season-opening Daytona 500. The car experienced engine problems after just 14 laps.
Labonte is 26th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has 1,507 points and trails 25th-place Casey Mears by four points. Labonte is 743 points behind leader Greg Biffle, 343 points from the 400-point cutoff for the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup and 416 behind 10th-place Jamie McMurray.
The primary car for the Pepsi 400 is Chassis No. 82 which Labonte drove in May at Talladega when he started 15th and finished 29th. He was involved in a multi-car accident midway through the race, but returned the racetrack and had been in the top-10 when he experienced engine problems late in the race due to a missed shift. In 2004, Labonte used the car in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, when he started 16th and finished seventh and in the fall race at Talladega when he finished 35th after a late-race accident. In July 2003, former JGR driver Mike Bliss started 32nd and finished 26th in the car in the July Daytona event.
The back-up car will be No. 95, the car Labonte used in the 2005 Daytona 500.
In addition to the Pepsi 400, Labonte, will co-drive with his brother, Terry, in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Grand American Rolex Series event June 30 on the road course at DIS. In February, the Labontes, along with IRL IndyCar Series standout Bryan Herta and road-racing ace Jan Magnussen, finished ninth in Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Bobby Labonte is scheduled to compete in two more Rolex races in 2005: The Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., (July 31) and the Watkins Glen 200 at Watkins Glen International (Aug. 12).
"We'd like to do better at Daytona than we did in February, obviously. We had pretty good runs in the Shootout the qualifying races, so to get only 14 laps in the Daytona 500 was pretty disappointing. It was just one of those things. In the plate races, it's a crapshoot, you just try to draft good and try to be there at the end."
(About the Brumos Porsche 250):
"I got my first taste of sports car racing earlier this year in the Rolex 24, and I'm looking forward to returning to Daytona for the Brumos Porsche 250. Terry and I had a blast driving the Daytona Prototype and hopefully we'll have another competitive run in this race. It's a little shorter, but it should be a great time. It's a pretty neat deal to have DAYTONA USA on the car, and we'll try to give them a good finish."