HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, July 20, 2004 -- The following are Siemens 300 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. SIEMENS 300 PRE-RACE NOTES: * Interstate ...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, July 20, 2004 -- The following are Siemens 300 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.
SIEMENS 300 PRE-RACE NOTES:
* Interstate Batteries will serve as primary sponsor of the No. 18 Chevrolet this week. Wellbutrin XL^Ù, a medicine indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder in patients 18 years and older, served as the primary sponsor at Daytona and Chicagoland.
* Brandon Thomas, a member of the JGR engineering department, will serve as interim crew chief for Labonte this weekend. Thomas, who served as Labonte's engineer in the 2003 season, replaces Michael McSwain, who was released on July 14.
* Labonte will attempt to start his 19th NEXTEL Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. He has never scored a victory in NEXTEL Cup competition at NHIS, but finished second in 2000 (fall race) on his way to the championship.
* In 18 races at NHIS, Labonte has started in the top five nine times (50 percent), including winning the Bud Pole in 2000 (fall race). He has finished in the top five four times, most recently in the 2002 fall race.
* In the 2003 at NHIS, Labonte started fourth and finished 14th in the first race and started 37th (provisional) and finished 16th in the second race.
* After finishing 18th July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Labonte remained sixth in points. He has 2,278 points and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 442 points and trails fifth-place Matt Kenseth by 43 points..
* Labonte has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 2004.
* The primary car for the Siemens 300 will be No. 84, the car Labonte drove to second-place April 18 at Martinsville and third-place May 15 at Richmond. Labonte also used the car in 2003 at the fall New Hampshire race and the Phoenix event. He finished 16th and New Hampshire and 36th at Phoenix after being involved in a late-race accident.
* The back-up car is No. 64, the car Labonte used to finish second with at Martinsville and Richmond in the spring of 2003.
SIEMENS 300 PRE-RACE QUOTE:
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "Obviously there is a change this weekend with Brandon taking over for Michael (McSwain). We've had a week off, so that gave us a chance to work on some things before we headed to New Hampshire. We've got eight races to go before the chase for the championship starts, so we need to put ourselves in the best position possible before the final 10 races. New Hampshire's an interesting track and we've always seemed to qualify well there, except for last year when we had to take a provisional. Hopefully, we can start of the second half of the season with a good effort and get a victory."