Talladega: Bobby Labonte preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, April 20, 2004 -- The following are Aaron's 499 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Wellbutrin XL (bupropion HCl) Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. AARON'S 499 PRE-RACE ...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, April 20, 2004 -- The following are Aaron's 499 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Wellbutrin XL (bupropion HCl) Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

AARON'S 499 PRE-RACE NOTES:

Wellbutrin XL, a medicine indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder in patients 18 years and older, will serve as the primary sponsor for the No. 18 Chevrolet this weekend in Talladega. Wellbutrin XL served as primary sponsor March 28 at Bristol and will serve as the main sponsor at Daytona (July 3), Chicagoland (July 11), Michigan (Aug. 22), California (Sept. 5), Richmond (Sept. 11) and Atlanta (Oct. 31).

Labonte will attempt to start his 23rd race at Talladega Sueprspeedway. He has one win and one Bud Pole at Talladega, both coming in the spring race of 1998.

Labonte has six top-five and nine top-10 finishes at Talladega. He has struggled recently, however, finishing in the top 10 only once since 2000. He finished fifth in the 2001 spring race.

In 2003, Labonte started 22nd in the spring race at Talladega, completing only 118 of the 188 laps after being involved in a 26-car accident on the fourth lap of the race. In the fall race, he started 10th and finished 11th.

The primary car for the Aaron's 499 will be No. 72, while the back-up car is No. 69, the car Labonte used in the four superspeedway races in 2003 and the car he finished 11th with in the 2004 Daytona 500.

AARON'S 499 PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Wellbutrin XL Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "In the last few years we haven't finished as well as we'd like to at Talladega. We've had some bad luck, and we just haven't been able to crack the top 10, lately. But, we hadn't finished well in the Daytona 500 for while either and managed to finish 11th there this year, so maybe that will carry over to Talladega this weekend. It's going to be a crapshoot there. We all know it doesn't matter where you start at places like this and Daytona. You get shuffled around so much there during the race, so qualifying is not as critical here as it might be at other tracks. The important thing is to be there at the end and see what happens. We had a great run at Martinsville finishing second, and, hopefully, we can capitalize on that momentum, although there is a big change going from a half-mile like Martinsville to a superspeedway like Talladega."

-jgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing