Loudon: Bobby Labonte preview

Bobby Labonte: "I remember going to that first race at New Hampshire in 1993 and seeing a bunch of pure race fans. They were as passionate about our sport as fans in Charlotte or Talladega. It has remained that way through the addition of a...

Bobby Labonte:

"I remember going to that first race at New Hampshire in 1993 and seeing a bunch of pure race fans. They were as passionate about our sport as fans in Charlotte or Talladega. It has remained that way through the addition of a second race. They love what we do and they love the show that we put on. That trickles down to the garage area; there are a lot of drivers, crew chiefs and mechanics that are from New England. So it's important to the life blood of the sport for NASCAR to maintain a large presence in New England."

"New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a unique racetrack and that's one reason that I look forward to going up there every year. There's not another track on our schedule that is the same length and shape. It's similar to Martinsville in how you drive it, but New Hampshire is twice the size. Both are what you call "paperclip-shaped" tracks with long straights and tight corners. You use a lot of brake at New Hampshire because you carry a lot of speed into the corners. The Milwaukee Mile is very similar and that's why you see a lot of testing there."

"SMI is the new owner of New Hampshire and I'm sure everyone is anxious to see what they will do there. There are a lot of rumors flying around. In the end, I think both races will stay in New Hampshire because that area is just too important. New England is a racing hotbed and that is the only track we have up there. Bruton (Smith) may go in there and add some banking to the track. That may be a good idea. I like the track, but it was built for modifieds, not heavy stock cars. A little progressive banking would be great."

* Labonte is the all-time laps leader at New Hampshire with 7,498 laps completed.

* Labonte is tied for most career starts at NHMS with 26. He is one of only four drivers who have run every Cup race held at the track.

* At New Hampshire Labonte has garnered five top-5s and nine top-10s. His highest finish at the track is second, which came in 2000.

* The driver's most recent top-10 finish there is third, which he scored in 2005.

* In 2000, Labonte started from the pole at Loudon. He has been a top-10 qualifier a total of 13 times. The last time he started from within the top-10 was in 2005.

* In 26 starts at NHMS, Labonte has completed 7,498 of 7,688 laps (97.5%) including 62 laps led. Labonte's average start at the track is 14.0 and average finish is 15.5.

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte