HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004 -- The following are MBNA America 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 MBNA Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. MBNA AMERICA 400 PRE-RACE NOTES: * Labonte will attempt...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004 -- The following are MBNA America 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 MBNA Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.
MBNA AMERICA 400 PRE-RACE NOTES:
* Labonte will attempt to start his 25th race at Dover International Speedway. He made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut at the track on June 2, 1991 driving for Labonte Racing. He started 33rd and finished 34th after engine problems ended his day after 88 laps.
* MBNA is the primary sponsor of the No. 18 Chevrolet for Dover. The company, which is based in Wilmington, Del., has sponsored races at Dover since 1995 and is a long-time sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing.
* In 24 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).
* Labonte had seven consecutive top-five finishes at Dover from the fall race in 1997 through the fall race in 2000. However, since then, Labonte has managed only one top-10 finish (third, spring 2003) in seven races at Dover.
* On June 6, 2004, Labonte started 18th and finished 25th.
* In the 2003 spring race, Labonte started 13th and finished third. He started eighth and finished 31st in the fall race.
* After finishing 18th at Richmond, Labonte fell from 13th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has 3,246 points, 85 points behind 11th-place Jamie McMurray and 22 points behind 13th-place Mark Martin.
* The primary car for the MBNA America 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 the second Pocono race, where he finished 30th after an engine problem ended his day early. The car was driven in June 2004 at Dover when Labonte started 18th and finished 25th and in Aug. 2004 at Bristol when Labonte started 19th and finished 16th.
* The back-up car will be No. 66, the car Labonte drove to second place with March 21 at Darlington and the car he won the Bud Pole with April 2 at Texas. He finished fifth with the car May 2 at California, eighth June 20 at Michigan International Speedway, 13th May 30 at Charlotte, 15th Aug. 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 18th July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. Labonte also used the car at the fall race at Atlanta in 2003, where he started second and finished fifth.
MBNA AMERICA 400 PRE-RACE QUOTE:
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup 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, especially with the way we've been running lately. We haven't had great finishes in the last 10-12 races, but we're still working hard and gathering information and trying to finish out the year on a good note. It's frustrating, but we're still working at it. We've got MBNA on the car this week and it's an important race for them, since there based close to Dover. Hopefully, we can bring MBNA, Interstate, Wellbutrin XL and all the sponsors our first victory of the season."