Pocono: Bobby Labonte preview

Making Good Finishes Better Team Making Summer Run Towards Chase This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the ...

Making Good Finishes Better
Team Making Summer Run Towards Chase

This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the 2.5-mile Pocono (Penn.) Raceway for Sunday's Pocono 500.

The Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge will continue their summer stretch of races on Sunday looking for a spot in the "Chase". Labonte finished 18th at Dover and remains 17th in championship points. Including Sunday's race, there are 13 races left before the "Chase for the Nextel Cup" begins.

Labonte will be making career start 488 this weekend and 29th start at Pocono. Labonte has two starts for Petty Enterprises at Pocono with results of 12th and eighth. Labonte has three wins and is one of nine drivers to have three or more wins at the track. He is one of only three active drives to hold that mark. Labonte has nine top-10 and five top-five finishes at Pocono.

Comments from Labonte as he prepares for this weekend's Pocono 500:

"I hope it doesn't rain.We've seen a lot of that in the past month or so. It's not bad for the drivers, but it really puts the guys on the team in a tough spot.They have to work longer and without time off.This is a long stretch in our schedule right now.You just don't have a weekend off to catch up. It's just an added strain on everyone.It's been amazing to see this rain follow us, but hopefully the sun will be out in Pocono.

"Pocono is a good track for us.We had two good races last year, and I think we are feeling good going back.It's an important part of the season right now.If we have a chance at good finishes, we need to make them better finishes.If we have better finishes, we need to turn those into wins.We had a good finish at Pocono last year.This is an opportunity to get a better finish than last year.

"You just can't have any problems right now. The top four or five guys are probably feeling comfortable. They might have a bad race and still be 'OK', but there are a lot of teams that can't have any bad luck.That's why this stretch through June and July is really important.It's a very competitive time.It's very close right now from 10th all the way back to 20th in points.

"It's brings you back to the rain delays that we have had.That is one extra day that you can't get back to the shop to regroup.You just have to pick up your tools and head to the next race.You have to be ready.The guys back at the shop have to continue to work hard.I don't know if the lights at Petty Enterprises have been turned off yet. These guys are burning the midnight oil to make sure we have the advantage.It's been a total team effort from everyone.

"We just need to build off consistent finishes.You look at the end of last season and we were really clicking.That was great.We are looking for finishes like that right now.But, like I said, we can build off good finishes and make them better finishes.That is showing progress and putting us in a good position.

"I think we are just taking this step-by-step.Pocono is the next race and that is challenging enough.I've been fortunate to have had good finishes there, but it's a tough place. You don't have to look at an aerial view of the track too long to know that this place is a little bit different.That's fun too. Making good finishes turn into better finishes is even more fun.

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte