HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, June 21, 2005 -- The following are Dodge/Save Mart 350 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing: DODGE/SAVE MART 350 PRE-RACE ...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, June 21, 2005 -- The following are Dodge/Save Mart 350 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing:
DODGE/SAVE MART 350 PRE-RACE NOTES:
* Labonte will attempt to start his 13th race at Infineon Raceway, one of two road courses on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule. He has never scored a victory in Cup competition at Infineon or at Watkins Glen, the other road course on the 2005 schedule.
* In 12 starts at Infineon, Labonte has two top-five finishes (fourth in 1998 and 2000) and five top-10 finishes. He has finished in the top 10 in four of the last six races at the track. Labonte has finished outside of the top 20 only twice (1999, 2004).
* Last year, Labonte started 10th and finished 33rd, six laps down. He suffered a punctured tire early and a broken brake line in the middle of the race, which caused him to lose the six laps.
* In his first five races at Infineon (1993-1997), Labonte started no better than 21st (1996). However, since then, Labonte has started no worse than 14th (1999, 2002 and 2003) and has started third, (2000), fourth (2001), ninth (1998) and 10th (2004).
* The Infineon event is normally the first road course race of any kind for Labonte. However, in February, he competed in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Grand American Rolex race at Daytona International Speedway. Labonte, along with brother, Terry, IRL IndyCar Series standout Bryan Herta and road-racing ace Jan Magnussen, finished ninth in the historic event. Bobby Labonte is schedule to compete in three more Rolex races in 2005: Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona (June 30), Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., (July 31) and the Watkins Glen 200 at Watkins Glen International (Aug. 12).
* The primary car for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 is chassis No. 86, the car Labonte drove to ninth and 11th-place finishes at Watkins Glen 2003 and 2004, respectively. He also used the car at in 2004 at Infineon Raceway where he started 10th and finished 33rd.
* The back-up car is chassis No. 106, a new car that has not been used before.
* Labonte and the Interstate Batteries team tested at Virginia International Raceway on June 13-14 in preparation for the Sonoma event.
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, 1991 Busch Series Champion): "I am really looking forward to this weekend's trip out to Sonoma. I think I am pretty decent on the road courses and have gotten better over the years. You need to be patient and very strategic when planning a pass at Infineon. There is no chance for your brain to get a break like you might get at some tracks going down a backstretch or something. With all the turns and the elevation changes and such, you can never stop concentrating on anything. It happens too fast and you'll end up getting in trouble if you do lose focus. I've enjoyed road-racing more and more as I've gone along in my career. This year, we're doing four Rolex races, in addition to the two Cup events, which is a pretty neat deal. The cars are different, obviously, but road-racing is challenging, no matter what type of car, and that's what I enjoy, the challenge."