Pocono II: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, July 20, 2004 -- The following are Pennsylvania 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. PENNSYLVANIA 500 PRE-RACE NOTES: *...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, July 20, 2004 -- The following are Pennsylvania 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

PENNSYLVANIA 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his 24th race at Pocono Raceway. He won both races at the track in 1999 and won the 2001 fall race.

* In 23 starts at Pocono, Labonte has five top-five finishes. In addition to his three wins, he finished third June 13 and finished fourth in 1998 (fall). He has seven career top-10 finishes at Pocono, and six of them came in a seven race stretch from the fall of 1998 through the fall of 2001. The only time he finished outside of the top 10 during that time was when he finished 13th in the 2000 spring race.

* Pocono is one of only four tracks on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series where Labonte has at least 10 starts, yet has failed to win a Bud Pole. The others are Bristol (23 starts), Indianapolis (10), Infineon (12).

* In the June 13 race at Pocono, Labonte started 17th and finished third. During the race, Labonte's car suffered a broken oil line which brought out a caution on Lap 120. Labonte pitted four times under his own caution and continue in the race in 16th position and ended up third behind winner Jimmie Johnson and Jeremy Mayfield.

* After finishing 17th July 11 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Labonte fell one spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, moving from sixth to seventh. He has 2,390 points and his 460 behind leader Jimmie Johnson and four points behind sixth-place Busch.

* Labonte has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 2004.

* The primary car for the Pocono 500 is chassis No. 78, the car Labonte used June 13 at Pocono when he finished third. He also used the car March 7 at Las Vegas, where he started seventh and finished eighth and March 14 at Atlanta where he started 10th and finished 18th. In 2003, the car was used the in the second Atlanta race where Labonte finished fifth. Chassis No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole at both Michigan races and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.

* The back-up car will be Chassis No. 62, the car Labonte drove in All-Star events at Charlotte in 2003 (third-place finish) and 2004 (13th-place finish). The car was also used at the first Pocono event in 2003 when Labonte finished 16th.

PENNSYLVANIA 500 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "We didn't have the best run last week at New Hampshire, but it was a good learning experience for the team. Brandon (Thomas, interim crew chief) and I worked well together in our first race. We've got a race under our belts, so we're ready to get on with the rest of the season. We had a good finish at Pocono a few weeks back, even with the oil-line problem. The guys never gave up and that resulted in us finishing third. I think we should be strong at Pocono and, hopefully, we can put the Interstate Batteries Monte Carlo in Victory Lane. (About not winning yet this season): It's frustrating, for sure, but it's not like we are having a terrible year. We're seventh in points and we're a little bit under the radar, which is the way we like it. We're looking for that first win, but we're also looking at putting ourselves in a good position when the final 10-race stretch starts."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing