Dover: Bobby Labonte preview

BOBBY LABONTE MBNA RACEPOINTS 400 NOTES AND QUOTES HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, May 31, 2005 -- The following are MBNA RacePoints 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe...

BOBBY LABONTE MBNA RACEPOINTS 400 NOTES AND QUOTES

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, May 31, 2005 -- The following are MBNA RacePoints 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

MBNA RACEPOINTS 400 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte has rebounded from early-season bad-luck with three top-eight finishes in the last five races. He finished sixth at Phoenix, eighth at Richmond and finished second to Jimmie Johnson by .027 of a second in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Since leaving Texas 37th in points, Labonte has moved to 24th throughout the last five races.

* Dover International Speedway is where Labonte made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut on June 2, 1991. He drove for Bobby Labonte Racing and started 33rd and finished 34th after engine problems ended his day after 88 laps.

* Labonte will attempt to start his 26th race at Dover International Speedway. In 25 starts at Dover, Labonte has 11 top-five finishes, including a victory in the spring race in 1999 when he won from the pole. He also won the pole in 1996 (fall) and 1997 (spring).

* From 1997-2000, Labonte had seven consecutive top-five finishes at Dover. However, since then, Labonte has managed only one top-10 finish (third, spring 2003) in eight races at Dover.

* In 2004, Labonte started 18th and finished 25th in the spring race and started sixth and finished 14th in the fall event.

* MBNA, a longtime sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing and Bobby Labonte is based just a short drive north of Dover in Wilmington, Del. The company has sponsored races at Dover since 1995.

* The primary car for the MBNA RacePoints 400 is chassis No. 78, the car Labonte used in 2004 at both Pocono races where he finished third and 29th (accident). He finished eighth in March at Las Vegas, 18th in March at Atlanta, 18th in September at New Hampshire and 17th in October at Charlotte. In 2003, the car was used in the second Atlanta race, where Labonte finished fifth. Chassis No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole for both races at Michigan and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.

* The back-up car is chassis No. 62, the car Labonte drove in All-Star events at Charlotte in 2003 (third-place finish) and 2004 (13th-place finish). The car was also used at the first Pocono event in 2003 when Labonte finished 16th. Labonte used the car at the end of 2004 at Kansas where he started fifth and finished 16th and Homestead where he finished 12th after starting sixth.

DOVER PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion): "We had a stretch in the late 90's where we always ran really, really good at Dover. It'd be nice to get back in that form. We used to be guaranteed of a great run there for the longest time it seemed. And it wasn't that we were sitting in victory lane all the time, but we could always count on a top-five for sure. The last few years, though, were a struggle to say the least." (About steadily climbing in the points): "The guys have worked hard. We've managed to get in the top-25, which gives us a little bit of momentum after the poor start to the year we had. We didn't have a great car at Charlotte, but Steve and guys made some great calls and we put ourselves in a position to win. Second was good for us as far as points and getting momentum, but, obviously, we'd rather have the trophy and the win. We need to get our cars better and have a good summer stretch. We'll keep working hard and see what happens."

-jgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing