HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Monday, Nov. 14, 2005 -- The following are Ford 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. FORD 400 PRE-RACE NOTES: Labonte will attempt...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Monday, Nov. 14, 2005 -- The following are Ford 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.
FORD 400 PRE-RACE NOTES:
Labonte will attempt to start his seventh NEXTEL Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He won the 2003 event when Bill Elliott cut a tire while in the lead on the final lap, exiting Turn 2.
In six starts at HMS, Labonte has finished outside of the top-10 only twice (29th, 2002; 12th, 2004). He has four top-10 finishes, including three top-fives (second, 1999; fourth, 2000; first, 2003)
On Nov. 12, 2000, Labonte started third and finished second at Homestead and clinched the 2000 NEXTEL Cup Championship.
Labonte is 24th in the NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has 3,427 points and is 51 points ahead of Michael Waltrip. Labonte trails Casey Mears by 50 points.
The Ford 400 will mark Labonte's final race for Joe Gibbs Racing. He won the 2000 NEXTEL Cup Series championship and has 21 wins in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet. Labonte has 437 career starts in the NEXTEL Cup Series and 374 of them have been with JGR in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet.
The primary car for the Ford 400 is chassis No. 116, which Labonte used in the Nov. 6 in the Dickies 500. Labonte started 17th and finished 26th.
The back-up car will be 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. He also used the car in the fall race at Dover where is started 28th and finished 32nd.
FORD 400 PRE-RACE QUOTE:
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion): "It's going to be an interesting weekend for sure. Obviously, there is a little bit of emotion going into the last race with Interstate and JGR. Anytime you spend 11 years doing anything, you grow attached to it. We're all a family, even though we're going our separate ways after Miami. I want to go out with a good run for Joe (Gibbs) and J.D. (Gibbs) and everyone at JGR, as well as Norm (chairman) and Tommy Miller (retired president) at Interstate. It's been a tremendous experience, and we're going to do our best to end it on a high note." (About Homestead) "We tested down there for Goodyear a few weeks back. The track has changed a lot over the years and obviously, with what happened with the hurricane, I know those guys are really working hard to get the track ready. With the banking that's been there a couple of years now, there are a couple of grooves to work with and it should be a pretty good race. We've always seemed to run well there, no matter what the track was like, so, hopefully, we can have a good finish to the season."