HOMESTEAD (Nov. 12, 2000) - As Pontiac Grand Prix driver Bobby Labonte begins his reign as NASCAR's newest Winston Cup champion, Pontiac is savoring its second-ever title and first since 1989. During the past two seasons, the division's ...
HOMESTEAD (Nov. 12, 2000) - As Pontiac Grand Prix driver Bobby Labonte begins his reign as NASCAR's newest Winston Cup champion, Pontiac is savoring its second-ever title and first since 1989.
During the past two seasons, the division's "WideTrack Attack" has become a major player in NASCAR's premier series, winning 20 races over that span - including today's event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. During the previous five seasons, Pontiac went to victory lane just 11 times. But then came resurgence two years ago, led by the newly expanded Joe Gibbs Racing operation. Along with Labonte's familiar No. 18 Grand Prix, Gibbs also campaigns the No. 20 Pontiac Grand Prix for sophomore sensation, Tony Stewart.
"This is a very exciting day," said Lynn C. Myers, General Manager, Pontiac-GMC Division. "We want to extend our congratulations to Bobby Labonte and everyone associated with Joe Gibbs Racing.
"We have all marveled at what Bobby Labonte and Jimmy Makar have achieved this season with the No. 18 Pontiac Grand Prix, and what Joe Gibbs and his son, J.D., have created over the past nine years," said Myers. "What began as a dream for Joe and his family has evolved into what is now the premier team in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. To have this organization spearhead the "WideTrack Attack" is a thrill for all of us. We take a great deal of pride in our association with Joe Gibbs Racing.
"Today is also a day to congratulate Tony Stewart, Greg Zipadelli and the entire No. 20 Pontiac Grand Prix team. In addition to claiming another win today and producing one of the best sophomore seasons ever, Tony and Greg also played an integral role in Bobby's first title and Pontiac's first in 11 years. It takes an enormous, unselfish effort to be a valuable teammate, but these two have risen to that challenge and shown the type of character that will one day put them in a position to become champions in their own right."
Pontiac Grand Prix Brand Manager Bob Kraut, who is enjoying his first year with the brand, already sees the impact of Labonte's championship run in showrooms across the country.
"What can I say? 'Wider is better,'" said Kraut. "The buying public knows it, and Bobby has proven it. The Pontiac Grand Prix, whether its on the racetrack or on the street, is a great handling car and now we have the endorsement of our second NASCAR Winston Cup crown to back it up."
Labonte's title is the 33rd crown for General Motors since NASCAR began honoring its champions in 1949. General Motors, through the participation of its Pontiac and Chevrolet brands, is easily the most successful automobile company involved in NASCAR Winston Cup racing today, having won 10 of the last 12 Winston Cup championships.