Fontana: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, April 27, 2004 -- The following are Auto Club 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. AUTO CLUB 500 PRE-RACE NOTES: Labonte will ...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, April 27, 2004 -- The following are Auto Club 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

AUTO CLUB 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:

Labonte will attempt to start his eighth race at California Speedway. He finished second at Fontana in 2000 and 2003 and finished third in 1999. He won the Bud Pole for the 2001 event at California.

In 2003, Labonte started 19th at California and finished second behind Kurt Busch.

After finishing 10th at Talladega, Labonte moved up two spots in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, moving from 12th to 10th. He has 1,110 points and is 232 points behind leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 19 points behind ninth-place Ryan Newman.

Labonte has four top-10 finishes in 2004 including two consecutive top-10's, a second-place finish at Martinsville and a tenth-place finish at Talladega.

The primary car for the Auto Club 500 will be No. 87, the car Labonte drove to second place with April 21 at Darlington and the car he won the Bud Pole with April 2 at Texas. Labonte also used the car at the fall race at Atlanta in 2003, where he started second and finished fifth.

The back-up car is No. 78, the car Labonte used March 7 at Las Vegas, where he started seventh and finished eighth and used March 14 at Atlanta where he started 10th and finished 18th. In 2003, the car was used the in the second Atlanta race where Labonte finished fifth. Car No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole at both Michigan races and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.

Labonte will throw out the first pitch May 4 at the new Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia prior to the Philadelphia Phillies/St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.

The North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway, which Labonte initiated with members of the NCQMA, is nearing completion. A webcam located at www.ncqma.com provides a live look at the construction taking place in Rowan County, N.C.

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AUTO CLUB 500 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "California is similar to Michigan, which is my favorite track. They're both 2-miles, but California isn't banked quite as much. We've had some good runs at California and have finished second there twice. I'm hoping that we can finally score a win there this weekend. We've put together two-10 finishes in a row, so, hopefully, we can capitalize on that and begin to move up in the points. We're back I the top 10, but we'd obviously like to be up a little bit higher."

-jgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bobby Labonte , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing