No. 18 Pit Crew finishes first in Fontana

Bobby Labonte's Pit Crew scores second straight win The pit crew of Bobby Labonte's No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet made it two-in-a-row by winning the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's (April 27) Auto...

Bobby Labonte's Pit Crew scores second straight win

The pit crew of Bobby Labonte's No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet made it two-in-a-row by winning the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's (April 27) Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in Fontana.

The No. 18 pit crew, led by crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain, also captured first-place honors at the previous NASCAR Winston Cup race - Virginia 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Labonte's car, which finished second in the 500-mile California race, spent 216 seconds on pit road, edging the cars of race winner Kurt Busch (218 seconds) and John Andretti (220 seconds).

"The guys have really stepped up to the plate and it's showing," said McSwain. "We are all working so hard and I am glad to see the guys being recognized for their efforts on pit road. Without the good pit stops, Bobby doesn't have a chance to win races. And we have seen the last two weeks he has been right there in contention. Hopefully, the guys can keep up the pace and can win a couple more of these McDonald's pit crew awards before the season is over."

With the back-to-back wins, the Joe Gibbs Racing Interstate Batteries crew has earned $40,000 ($20,000 for each pit crew win) and has moved into seventh place in the overall pit crew point standings. The season champion of the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade will receive a $200,000 bonus.

Labonte's over-the-wall crew consists of: Jason Lee (jackman), Todd Meredith (front tire carrier), Mark Armstrong (front tire changer), Alan Copley (rear tire carrier), Barry Cook (rear tire changer), Jim Gilbert (gasman) and Donnie Ratledge Jr. (catch can). The car chief is Scott Zipadelli and the windshield duties are handled by Adam von Olhausen.

During each 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points event, the participating team whose car spends the least amount of aggregate time off the race track will be named the weekly winner provided the team's driver takes the green flag at the beginning of the event and the checkered flag at the conclusion of the event. A timing line at the entrance and exit of pit road triggers the car's transponder and records the total time spent off the race track.

<pre> Top 10 Pit Crews For Participating Teams In Sunday's (April 27) Auto Club 500 at California Speedway

1.  Bobby Labonte Team          216 seconds
2.  Kurt Busch Team             218
3.  John Andretti Team          220
4.  Jamie McMurray Team         223
5.  Elliott's Sadler Team       253
6.  Greg Biffle Team            258
7.  Michael Waltrip Team        260
8.  Bill Elliott Team           284
9.  Dave Blaney Team            315
10. Sterling Marlin Team        327

2003 Winners of The McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERADE

Race                            Team Winner
Daytona (Feb. 16)               Michael Waltrip Team
Rockingham (Feb. 23)            Dave Blaney Team
Las Vegas (March 2)             Dale Earnhardt Jr. Team
Atlanta (March 9)               Dale Earnhardt Jr. Team
Darlington (March 16)           Jeff Green Team
Bristol (March 23)              Bill Elliott Team
Texas (March 30)                Robby Gordon Team
Talladega (April 6)             Bill Elliott Team
Martinsville (April 13)         Bobby Labonte Team
California (April 27)           Bobby Labonte Team

Top 10 Point Leaders McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade (following California race, 4/27/03)

Pos.    Car#    Team                            Points
1       15      Michael Waltrip Team            362
2        8      Dale Earnhardt Jr. Team         349
3       31      Robby Gordon Team               330
4       97      Kurt Busch Team                 309
5       16      Greg Biffle Team                306
6       30      Jeff Green Team                 301
7       18      Bobby Labonte Team              297
8       38      Elliott Sadler Team             292
9       40      Sterling Marlin Team            287
10      43      John Andretti Team              269

-mcdonalds-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , John Andretti , Bill Elliott , Bobby Labonte , Michael Waltrip , Greg Biffle , Jeff Green , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Jamie McMurray , Elliott Sadler , Dave Blaney , Jason Lee
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing