HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005 -- The following are MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 MBNA RacePoints Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. SYLVANIA 300 PRE-RACE NOTES: *...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005 -- The following are MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 MBNA RacePoints Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.
SYLVANIA 300 PRE-RACE NOTES:
* Labonte's No. 18 Chevrolet will have the MBNA NASCAR RacePoints paint scheme for Sunday's MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400. MBNA and Joe Gibbs Racing officials have added the Red Cross logo to the trunk deck of the car and Labonte will be wearing a white fire suit with the American Red Cross logo on the front and 1-800-help-now on the back. The No. 11 FedEx Chevy of Joe Gibbs Racing will also carry the Red cross logo on the trunk. FedEx and MBNA are teaming up to take credit card and cash donations at the track on Saturday and Sunday to help with the Hurricane relief.
*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 27th race at Dover International Speedway. In 26 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 nine races at Dover.
*In June, Labonte started 24th and finished 38th at Dover. He suffered engine problems after just 51 laps.
*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.
*Labonte is 24th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has 2,605 points and trails 23rd-place Ricky Rudd by 14 points.
*The primary car for the MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400 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 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.
*The back-up car is chassis No. 78, the car Labonte used at Dover, where he finished 38th after engine problems ended his day after just 51 laps. The chassis was also used in 2004 at both Pocono races where he finished third and 29th (accident). Also in 2004, Labonte used the car to finish eighth at Las Vegas, 18th at Atlanta (spring), 18th at New Hampshire (fall) and 17th at Charlotte (fall). 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.
MBNA NASCAR RACEPOINTS 400 PRE-RACE QUOTE:
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 MBNA RacePoints Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR 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, have been a struggle to say the least."