GM Racing - Labontes' Texas wake up call, part 2

Continued from part 1 YOU SEEMED FRUSTRATED AFTER THE MARTINSVILLE RACE Bobby: Well, you know, it's kind of no different. Daytona was frustrating. Daytona was just one race but it frustrating. And then we go to the second race, then the third...

Continued from part 1

YOU SEEMED FRUSTRATED AFTER THE MARTINSVILLE RACE

Bobby: Well, you know, it's kind of no different. Daytona was frustrating. Daytona was just one race but it frustrating. And then we go to the second race, then the third race and fourth race, fifth race, sixth race. It goes get frustrating, obviously. Ricky Rudd and I .he was like, hey man, don't have problems because every time you have problems I seem to have problems, you know? It's been one of those weird situations. It's like, when are we going to be able to finish that 500 miles or that 500 laps. That's something going on. If we would have had a 12th place car last weekend, maybe we would have finished 8th with it. You know what I mean, after the results are over. We would have been jumping up and down because that would have meant that at least we finished something. We haven't been able to finish that because of things that have happened. You know, it wears on you but every.it's no different from running bad. You struggle running bad. But when Friday comes you've got to be able to do your best. Do your best and that's all you can do. If something happens, it happens. You just don't want it to happen a lot. Just do your best. And everyone has to do their best. Once we get that, whatever is happening to us, out, if we're still doing our best and not losing focus on it, then we'll be okay. And just one comment, too. Don't be confused. I know a lot of people get Terry and I confused a lot of times in the paper. He's on the retirement deal running ten races, I just feel like I am because I've only run one race in six. Don't get us confused. I'm not on that program, but I might feel like it and it might have been that way. He's almost higher in points than I am, running two races. But don't worry. I'm not on that program. I'm just saving myself until the end of the year.

CAN YOU RECALL ANOTHER TIME WHERE YOU'VE HAD THIS MUCH BAD LUCK?

Bobby: No, not at all. Not this many in a row for me.

Terry: I have. 1985 I blew up seven weekends in a row. I was leading the points at the beginning of that stretch and blew up seven weekends in a row. We were no longer the point leaders at the end of that stretch.

Bobby: And, you didn't drive for them too much after that?

Terry: No

Bobby: Okay

(Moderator: That was the year after Terry's championship win, too)

Bobby: So you see a lot of common things here, don't you?

IN REGARDS TO JEFF GORDON GETTING HIS 71ST CAREER WIN THIS PAST WEEKEND AND THE FACT THAT HE'S ONLY 5 AWAY FROM THE LATE DALE EARNHARDT'S RECORD, HOW BIG IS THAT AND WHAT EFFECT DOES THAT HAVE?

Terry: I think it's just an incredible accomplishment. Jeff has just had a fantastic career and won so many races and championships and things like that. It's been pretty amazing. At Martinsvile at one point he was three laps down and was able to come back and win the race. That was pretty hard to do. To go to Indianapolis and win all the Brickyards that he's won, you know, he's really accomplished an awful lot. He's still got several good years left. He probably can break a few more records.

IT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR FATHER HAS ESTABLISHED A SPECIAL CODE OF CONDUCT IN YOUR FAMILY. CAN YOU COMMENT ON THAT?

Terry: Well, my Dad had a big influence on all of us. We raced together back when I first started. I actually started racing quarter midgets when I was like seven years old. I started racing stock cars when I was 16 and we won some track championships and things like that, and moved to North Carolina and he helped us on our Winston Cup team. He was a part of the 1984 championship team when we won the championship. Then Bobby started racing late models and my Dad and Bobby had a lot of success, won championships. And then here just a couple of years ago, he was helping Justin and they won a track championship and several races. It's pretty amazing for me to look back at my Dad and he's now in his 70s and for somebody who can stay on top of his game, that long, and to win over that long span of time. The technology has changed and somebody that can keep up with that is amazing. We left Corpus Christi down there Wednesday, I guess, to come up here. He dropped us off at the aiport and he looked at Justin and I and he said, alrright, y'all get that car right or else I'm coming out of retirement. So he called me last night after Justin qualified and I saw his number on my phone so I just picked up the phone and told him, I told Justin what you said! So, he got on the stick there. But he was a big part of our careers. I think something I learned from him more than anybody was just his work ethic. He worked harder than anybody I know. He still works hard today and it's pretty amazing. We could go run races and we could run two out of three on a Saturday night and he was mad because we didn't win the third one. That's just the way he was.

Justin: Yeah, like Dad was saying, he's definitely the toughest person I've ever worked with. One of the things that really stands out in my mind from working with him is the way he.it doesn't matter if you lapped the field, he was ..Monday morning you better be in there working on that car making it better. That's something I brought to the Busch Series with me. The more I grow up I thought, every time we go out we've got to get better and better and better. And that's the way he works so it has helped us with our careers.

Bobby: Just the fact, too, that when we were growing up racing quarter midgets, he worked at a Naval air station and would take two weeks off vacation around the racing so we could take our two weeks.they could take their two week vacation to take us racing. And, they spent every dime they had on quarter midgets, 57 Chevys, go karts to whatever it took to go racing. I've got pictures of my Dad sitting on a tire at the quarter midget track because it was all day qualifying. He's there, sitting down in the sun, he's got a big ole straw hat on, sitting on the right rear tire, like this.and it was all day and we were out there playing somewhere probably. He was waiting for us to go qualify. How many Dad would do that nowadays? It was just one of those deals. There's not many people who would do that, I would think. Stuff like that. I was talking to him Saturday night after the truck win and he was like, 'I don't know. I've got to go to Carraway because Mike Swain wants me to build a set of shocks for him and I don't know what do to, I haven't seen him yet and." He was still doing there down at Carraway on Saturday night. He stays on top of it. He's a hard worker and he's just that way.

IS THERE ANY CONCERN OVER VISIBILITY NEXT WEEK AT PHOENIX WHEN IT GOES FROM DAY TO NIGHT?

Bobby: Yeah, you know, Fontana was that way last fall. It started off in the afternoon and the sun was in your eyes and it ended up kind of under the lights. Turn 3 and Fontana, Turn 1 at Phoenix, and the one at Homestead now that the lights are going to be installed down there.it's going to be an issue for blind spot for a little bit. Somebody gave me a visor last weekend that's like a tint visor. You pull it off and you can have a clear visor and you pull it down and you can have a tint. People are already coming up with stuff like that. I use the old sunglasses last year at Fontana and put them in my pocket there during the race. We'll have to just figure that out with the shading and like that. There's a couple of hours here at times where it kind of bothers you, so you have to be careful of that.

HAS IT IMPACTED YOU THAT TERRY IS NOT HERE DRIVING EVERY WEEKEND?

Bobby: Well, he wasn't at Martinsville on Saturday for the truck race, so there's a trend here! No, I'm just kidding. No, it's kind of funny because at Martinsville on Friday for practice, I was looking for him. I was like, where's Terry at? And it's like, he ain't even here this weekend! He's not even here on the grounds. So, it's different. We usually make our trip to Martinsville together, you know either driving or something like that and you usually see something exciting on the way and talk about that. We didn't get to do that. It is different, but I understand. We had dinner last night together at .you going to Phoenix?

Terry: Yeah, but I'm leaving before the sun gets in your eyes?

Bobby: Okay, well I'll see him at Phoenix for a while anyways. It's like releasing but it's not a full release because it's not like all of a sudden he's not here. He's still here, but that he might not be here in the full capacity of Martinsville on Sunday, or he might be leaving early at Phoenix on Saturday. You know what I mean, but he's still there. That's fine with me. I just don't see him on the race track. For 28 events I don't see him on the track like I do for 10 races. That's a little different but I understand. I'm okay with that. Like I said, he's not totally removed. He's here and we do talk.

IS YOUR FATHER GOING TO BE HERE? WHAT WOULD NASCAR BE LIKE IF YOUR FATHER WAS PUT IN CHARGE OF POLICING YOUNG DRIVERS?

Justin: Well, I can tell you he doesn't have time to do that. He's on the city council there in Trinity-the little town he lives in. The mayor told me one thing about having him on the city council there, there haven't been near as many arguments.

Bobby: Plus he's on the homeowners association at the neighborhood where we live in, too, so he's got that taken care of. So, he's really tied up. I don't know if there's any spare time.

JUSTIN, DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD CHANGE ANYTHING?

Justin: Well, I'm used to racing with him, so it wouldn't be too much different for me. He's a pretty tough character sometimes and you don't get out of line very much without him letting you know what you've done.

JUSTIN, HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR SEASON THUS FAR?

Justin: You know, we haven't run as well as we expected coming into the year. We've had some good cars the past three weeks and I've gotten in two wrecks and got knocked out of the points, back down to 20-something and it's been tough the past couple of weeks. We tore up some cars, but we've got a brand new car at Texas. It's a good car and we're ready to get the momentum going back in the right direction.

TERRY, WHAT TYPE OF ROLE HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO PLAY THIS YEAR HAVING SOME EXTRA FREE TIME?

Terry: I kind of play the role of standing back and watching everything. If I see him making any mistakes that I think I can help him on, I try to contribute. You know, that's about it. If I can help him call some shots during the race or something. They've got a good team. They've run better in every race than they've finished. And that's important. If you can see the finishes are going to come, down the road. It's better to, at times, to run better than you're finishing than finish better than you're running. I think they've got a good team. A few bumps in the road there but I think overall they've done very well.

JUSTIN, HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU DECIDED YOU WANTED TO DO THIS?

Justin: You know, I can't really remember how young I was when I decided I wanted to race. But growing up at race tracks as a little kid, that's all I wanted to do. I remember playing in the infield and stuff and hanging out in the van with my mom and wishing I was out there racing. You're just brought up around it and it's hard not to have an interest in what my Dad and Bobby are doing.

-gm racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup