BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - finished 3rd: TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY. "It was a great run. We started 13th and we never could get out of that position for the first 100 laps or so. The guys made some good ...
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - finished 3rd:
TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY.
"It was a great run. We started 13th and we never could get out of that position for the first 100 laps or so. The guys made some good pit stops and made some good adjustments on the car, and we were able to pass a few cars after a few laps and got all the good out of it that we could. We took the lead there that one time but the car got too loose, and we backed up a little bit and came home third. It was a great run for us."
WHAT ABOUT THE TRACK TODAY WITH THE CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS?
"It wasn't bad. Obviously there at the end it was kind of frustrating because you didn't know if it was going to rain or not. But once we got going there it seemed like it was really good and the track didn't change a whole lot for us. We kept freeing it up a little bit, but I think that was just because we started off a little tight. We got just too the edge, and then we got a little loose and we had to back up just a little bit. The track conditions I thought were pretty good, just a typical Dover where it gets a little slippery after a few laps, and then on the restarts it's good for a little bit and then it gets slippery after a few laps."
WHAT ABOUT THE RESTART THERE AT THE END?
"I guess there were what, seven laps to go, when they finally went. Tony (Stewart) was trying to pass Jeff (Gordon) on the bottom there between (Turns) one and two, and I just went to the outside. I didn't really mean to, I kind of slid up there anyway. But I just mashed the gas and was able to get by Tony on the outside going down the back straightaway, and I cleared him going into three. It was a good thing because if I had been behind him I wouldn't have been able to pass him after a lap. Once we got to that position, if you noticed, all three cars up front we all did the same thing. I saw Ryan (Newman) push up off of Turn two, and Jeff pushed up right behind him. I thought I'm going to get him here, and I pushed up too, and I looked in my mirror and Tony's pushing up too. It was almost like you just followed each other's tracks the last few laps."
YOU'VE HAD A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS LATELY AT A WIDE VARIETY OF TRACKS -
DOES THAT BODE WELL FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?
"It's encouraging. I think the biggest thing that I'm excited about is going to California, and last time we finished second there after struggling the last two years, coming to Dover and finishing third today and we've struggled here the last two years. That's four races, probably six races when it comes down to it. So to come back and take the lead, lead a few laps, finish in the top three, that's encouraging to me. If we can run good at all the tracks, I think that's definitely what our goal is, and we've done that before it seems like. Now getting back on track with tracks that we've struggled at the past two years I think is more encouraging than that."
"For the most part. That one run when we got out front of Jeff and his car was loose, and I got going and my car got loose. That was the only time I could say I had a better than third-place car. Before that we had run some laps the same as the leaders, but we were pretty far back in traffic. We did catch some caution flags and stuff like that, so it was going pretty good if we just caught the right caution flags, got the right pit stops and got track position out of it. At times I thought we had the third-place car, and at times I thought we had the fifth-place car. As it turned out it came out probably as good as we could have there at the end if everything would have been normal. Obviously if we had come out on that restart when I took the lead, and that had been with 10 laps to go, it might have been different, but overall I'd say it was a third-place car."
HOW ARD WAS IT TO ESTABLISH A RHYTHM WITH ALL THE CAUTIONS EARLY IN THE
"It took a while because the track never came in. Everybody was running pretty good at that time because everybody had new tires on, and you'd run a few laps and then have a caution there. It still took a while. It was kind of frustrating, no fault of anybody's, obviously, but it's just kind of frustrating that you couldn't just either go or stop. You got two to go, one to go, call it off, one to go. You just sit there and ride around. That's probably the hardest thing. When you're sitting in a race car you want to go fast instead of going real slow."
WHAT DO YOU THINK MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED IF YOUR TEAMMATE, TONY STEWART,
HADN'T BEEN PENALIZED?
"It looked like he probably would've won. He just checked out on them, I thought. He was fast. I never saw him most of the day, so obviously he must have been a lot faster than I was. My speculation is I'll agree with everybody else that he probably would have won."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT WHEN THAT LAST CAUTION CAME OUT?
"I thought I had a shot for hopefully finishing fourth at that time because Johnny Benson was behind me and he had been running about the same times I was right before that caution came out. You never know when you slow down on tires that have a few laps on them as hard as we ran them, after a green flag stop there's no telling. You might slip up. We had been doing that all day, so I really didn't know. You hope for the best. I was surprised I got by the '20' car. I thought there was no way. I thought somebody's going to try the outside, and I really didn't mean to, but it was me, and I got by one car and that was all I was going to get by."