Martinsville: Bobby Labonte preview

BOBBY LABONTE ADVANCE AUTO PARTS 500/KROGER 250 NOTES AND QUOTES HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, April 5, 2005 -- The following are Advance Auto Parts 500 and Kroger 250 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18...

BOBBY LABONTE ADVANCE AUTO PARTS 500/KROGER 250 NOTES AND QUOTES

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, April 5, 2005 -- The following are Advance Auto Parts 500 and Kroger 250 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing (NEXTEL Cup) and the No. 47 Trick Pony/Econo Lodge/Rodeway Inn Chevrolet Silverado for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (Craftsman Tuck Series).

ADVANCE AUTO PARTS 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his 27th NEXTEL CUP race at Martinsville Speedway. He won the spring race in 2002 and won the pole for the spring race in 1995.

* Labonte has four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes at Martinsville. He has finished fourth or better in four of the last seven races at Martinsville.

* In 2004, Labonte started 23rd and finished second in the spring race, his tying his best finish of the season. He also finished second at Darlington in the spring. In the fall race, Labonte started 17th and finished 18th.

* Labonte is 34th in the 2005 NEXTEL Cup point standings. He had an engine problem on Lap 14 at Daytona and was involved in early accidents at Las Vegas, Atlanta and Bristol.

* On Oct. 18, 1992, Labonte won the Winston Classic Busch Series event at Martinsville.

* The primary car for the Food City 500 is chassis No. 64, a car Labonte has not driven in a race since the 2003 season. However, the car has proven successful for Labonte in the four races he has driven it. He finished second in the spring races at Martinsville and Richmond in 2003 and finished sixth with it in the fall 2003 Richmond race. He also finished 14th in the June New Hampshire event in 2003.

* The back-up car is chassis No. 93, a new car that has not been used in a race.

KROGER 250 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his second career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway. It will be his fifth career start in the series.

* In March, Labonte scored his best career Craftsman Truck Series finish at Atlanta when he placed second to Ron Hornaday Jr. by just .008 of a second, the closest superspeedway finish in the series' history. The finish was the third-closest all-time in NCTS history.

* In 2004, Labonte drove in two Craftsman Truck Series events for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports as part of Chevy's All-Star Program. In the fall race at Martinsville he finished third after starting 35th due to qualifying being canceled because of rain and the field being set by owner points. He also started fifth and finished 29th at Homestead-Miami after engine problems ended his day after 87 of 134 laps.

* Labonte and teammate Dennis Setzer tested on April 4 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. in preparation for the Kroger 250. Labonte won the late-model track championship at Caraway in 1987, while Setzer was the champion in 1988-1990.

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MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:

* On April 5, Labonte hosted the second annual Bobby Labonte Celebrity Golf Classic Presented by ConAgra Foods. The event, which raised money for the Bobby Labonte Foundation, was conducted at the Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte, N.C. Fellow NASCAR drivers Terry Labonte, Tony Stewart, Jason Leffler and Johnny Benson participated in the event. Other celebrities included: J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, Steve Addington, Labonte's crew chief and Greg Zipadelli, Stewart's crew chief, Allen Bestwick from the NASCAR on NBC broadcast team, Larry McReynolds from the NASCAR on FOX broadcast crew, Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel, Marty Roe, lead-singer for Diamond Rio and Larry Ziegler from the PGA Champions Tour.

* Labonte is scheduled to attend the Dallas Mavericks/Phoenix Suns NBA game April 7 at American Airlines arena Dallas. He will attend the game as a guest of NEXTEL, the title sponsor of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Officials from TNT, which will broadcast the game live and also will broadcast seven NEXTEL Cup events in 2005, will interview Labonte during the game. Attending the game in Dallas is a homecoming of sorts for Labonte, who was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. Also, Interstate Batteries, the primary sponsor of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, is based in Dallas. Labonte will race at Texas Motor Speedway in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 on April 17. He has won the Bud Pole for the last two NEXTEL Cup races at TMS, which is located in Fort Worth, Texas.

* Labonte will attend the 36th annual Gospel Music Association Awards on April 13 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.

MARTINSVILLE PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion):

"We showed last weekend that we can run in the top 10, we just got caught up in another accident, which is something we haven't really been able to avoid this year. But, we're positive about what we've been able to do. Steve (Addington, crew chief) and the Interstate guys are working really hard and we're positive -- everyone's got a great attitude. Do we wish we were higher in the point standings and had finished better this year? Sure, but we're focusing on the positive things we've done this year. I think everyone got a little 'feel-good' medicine at Bristol last week when we were in the top 10 for as long as we were. We hated to get caught up in the accident, but that's part of short-track racing and part of our luck this year. We're excited about going to Martinsville, and we'll see if things will turn around for use there."

(About running in the Craftsman Truck Series race): "I'm really excited about that. I've had a blast with the Morgan-Dollar Motorsports guys and I'm going to do everything I can to get us that trophy at Martinsville. We came real close last fall and missed it by a few inches a couple of weeks ago at Atlanta. The series is so much fun to drive in and we're going to try and do five or six more races later this year if we can put a deal together. I'm glad to have Trick Pony, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn on our Silverado this week. Hopefully we can take them to Victory Lane."

-jgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Dennis Setzer
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing