Las Vegas: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Monday, March 1, 2004 -- The following are UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. UAW-DAIMLERCHRYSLER 400 PRE-RACE ...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Monday, March 1, 2004 -- The following are UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

UAW-DAIMLERCHRYSLER 400 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his seventh race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He won the pole for the Las Vegas race in 1999 and 2003.

* Labonte has three top-five finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

* In 2003 at Las Vegas, Labonte won the pole and finished fourth in the race.

* The primary car for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 is No. 78, the car that was used by Labonte at both Michigan races and at Kansas and the second Atlanta race. Labonte won the pole at both Michigan races and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He also drove the car to fifth-place finish at Atlanta and a fourth-place starting spot at Kansas.

* The back-up car is No. 74, the car Labonte used to win the pole and finish fourth with in 2003 at Las Vegas. Labonte also drove the car at California, where he finished second and at the second Pocono race, where he finished 30th after an engine problem ended his day early.

* Labonte is 17th in points, coming off an 11th-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a 25th-place finish in the Subway 400 at Rockingham. Despite finishing in the top 10 in points in seven of the last nine years, Labonte has only been in the top 10 after the first two races of the season twice, in 1999 and 2000.

* The next three races, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Darlington, are places where Labonte has had success. He has two poles and three top-five finishes in six races at Las Vegas and won the 2000 Southern 500 at Darlington. Atlanta is a place Labonte has dominated in his career, scoring six wins, including last year's spring race.

UAW-DAIMLERCHRYSLER 400 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "Last year was probably one of our better races there. We've been out there to test the last couple years and seemed to have gained some good knowledge about the racetrack. Last year, we learned some stuff that will probably help us for this year. It seems like I've been there and not qualified well, but have run well in the race. It just seems like if we don't start off strong, we get better as we go. I think that's just adapting to the racetrack. Sometimes I think I overdrive that track, and it doesn't need to be overdriven and it takes me a little while to figure that out. But, the past two years we've tested there, so we've got a little bit of a head start, so hopefully that will help us out." (About the next two races being at 1.5-mile tracks where you have had success): "Last year they were both good tracks for us, Vegas and Atlanta. That type of racetrack seems to suit my style pretty good. I'm excited about it. Las Vegas is a neat racetrack to race at. With the tire configuration now, when the test was there (in January), speeds were fast for a few laps, but they definitely gave up a lot, so we'll have to adapt to that, make sure that we do a good job of getting our car balanced as good as possible."

-jgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing