Sears Point: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, June 22, 2004 -- 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: *...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, June 22, 2004 -- 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 12th race at Infineon Raceway, one of two road courses on the 2004 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 2004 schedule.

* For those who love numbers, in 2003 Labonte started 14th and finished ninth at Infineon and started ninth and finished 14th at Watkins Glen.

* In 11 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 once, when he finished 27th in 1999.

* Labonte has completed 1,037 of a possible 1,038 laps (99.9 percent) at the 1.95-mile road course. The only time he failed to complete all the laps in a race came during his rookie season in 1993.

* 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) and ninth (1998).

* After finishing eighth at historic Michigan International Speedway June 20, Labonte moved from sixth to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. It's the first time Labotne has been in the top five in points in 2004, and his highest position in the standings since he was fourth in July 2003 after the New Hampshire event. He has 1,954 points and his 266 behind leader Jimmie Johnson, 259 behind second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 86 behind third-place Matt Kenseth.

* At 40 years old, Labonte is the oldest driver in the top 10 in points -- by seven years. The next oldest driver is his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart, who is 33. Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth are both 32.

* Labonte has five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 2004. He is the only driver in the top four in points without a victory this season.

* The primary car for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 is No. 86, the car Labonte drove to ninth-place finish with in 2003 at Watkins Glen

* The back-up car will be No. 80, the car Labonte drove finished 14th with at Infineon in 2003.

DODGE/SAVE MART 350 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "Our road course races were pretty weird last year in that we started 14th and finished ninth at Infineon and then turned that around started ninth and finished 14th a couple months later at the Glen. I think I'd rather just start first and finish first at each race, but it's still kind of a neat deal the way the numbers worked out last year. Obviously, it's a different weekend for us with the road course and all, rather than the ovals. But, we've gotten a little bit better on the road courses and we've finished in the top 10 a few times recently at Infineon. It'd be nice to get my first win on a road course this weekend and to do it at Infineon. I like the area out there, and we enjoy going there. We came out of Michigan with a top-10 and found ourselves fourth in points, which may have surprised some people. We've just kind of been under the radar all year, and that's the way we like it. What we don't like is that we haven't gotten a win yet this year, so we'd like to do that soon."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing