Talladega: Bobby Labonte preview

Team Coming Off First Top 10 Heads To Talladega With Spiderman On Board This weekend Bobby Labonte has a guest. Labonte's ...

Team Coming Off First Top 10
Heads To Talladega With Spiderman On Board

This weekend Bobby Labonte has a guest. Labonte's #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge will be decaled with the company of Spiderman on board in anticipation of the movie Spiderman 3. The paint scheme will run for fans all weekend at the 2.66-mile Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway as the team prepares for Sunday's Aaron's 499.

Labonte and team head to Talladega after shaking some bad luck at Phoenix. The Cheerios Dodge team recorded their best finish of the season when they finished eighth. It was the teams first top 10 finish of the season.

Talladega is known as a 'wild card' weekend. Anything can happen, with cars packed so tightly together, major multi-car accidents are always a threat. Throughout Labonte's career however, he has recorded an impressive percentage of laps completed (95%) at the track. Labonte has 28 previous Nextel Cup starts with 11 top-10 and six top-five finishes. He was a winner in 1998 and also the pole winner the same year. He finished 10th in October.

Comments from Labonte as he prepares for this weekend's Aaron's 499:

"Phoenix was a good weekend for us. We got a top 10 with the new car and that helped everyone get excited again. We made a nice jump in points and everyone is feeling good about that too. We just had a pretty good car and the guys did a good job. Paul (Andrews) made good calls. We didn't know if we could get in the top 10, but the breaks went our way. We'll take that and head to Talladega this weekend.

"Talladega, with its new pavement, is super smooth. Handling never plays a big role at Talladega, but with the new pavement it takes it completely out of it. We used to get separated a little bit with the old pavement, but that's really not the case now. We just see one big pack of cars. There are 43 of us out there, we pass through the stands in a few seconds, and we're all gone. We're just that packed together with this new pavement. It's difficult to avoid anything that happens. We're on top of each other.

"Any time you repave a track there is going to be a ton of grip. That's the case here. The track just has a ton of it. You can race down on the yellow line all day and not lose anything. The cars stick there like glue. It's fast. You can go in the middle, up high, and it's going to be smooth and have lots of grip.

"We've got Spiderman along for the ride this weekend. That's a great opportunity for us and we want to take advantage of it. It's always neat any time you have something like this on the car, but Spiderman has been a huge success. It's something pretty neat to be involved with. The Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge is always a sharp looking car. Having Spiderman on the sides, it's really cool. Hopefully we can give him a good ride.

"You know, paint schemes are a part of our sport. They came into the sport years ago and it was a really big deal. Today, you see so many of them, but it still keeps the sport interesting. We want fans to walk away on Sunday thinking, 'Man, that Spiderman car was pretty cool." I think it's good for the fans, the families and kids to get to see that every once and a while. We think the Spiderman 3 scheme will get everyone excited.

"We're just excited to get there and race again. The team is anxious for more after Phoenix. The team is getting better and our program is getting stronger. Talladega can be a tricky race, but we're riding a high note going in there. That's a good feeling right now and we're looking for a better result this weekend."

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte