Terry Labonte happy with team's progress

Terry Labonte happy with team's progress

With his younger Bobby Labonte already chalking up a win in the 2002 season, when is Terry Labonte going to get there? That's a good question. The last time Labonte so much as led a competitive lap in Winston Cup was October of 2000. Last year, ...

With his younger Bobby Labonte already chalking up a win in the 2002 season, when is Terry Labonte going to get there? That's a good question. The last time Labonte so much as led a competitive lap in Winston Cup was October of 2000. Last year, Labonte was the only driver to compete in all 36 events and not lead a lap.

That was until two weeks ago at Martinsville when he broke that embarrassing streak and led the field on two separate occasions for a total of 11 laps. He ended the race sixth.

"I really feel good about our team and where it's going. We stubbed our toe a few times but overall I think we're really happy with the progress that we've made."

Terry Labonte.
Photo by Richard Sloop.

Labonte, driver of the No.5 Kellogg's Chevy, currently sits 15th in points and has two top-10 finishes. Things appear to be heading in the right direction following his absence from Victory Lane since 1999.

The 1984 and 1996 Cup Champ has 21 career wins, three of which came on the .750 mile oval at Richmond. Good news for Labonte, the Cup Series heads into town this weekend.

The down side is Labonte is unsure of how competitive the race will actually be. "Right now it is really a one groove racetrack. The tires that we have this time don't seem to have quite as much grip maybe as the ones we did a year ago. Something seems to be a little bit different. In the testing sessions it was definitely just a one lane racetrack."

"It's a great track and I hope this works out okay where the groove moves up like it normally does there. I don't see why it won't but it seems like people have had more trouble testing there than they have in the past."

During the off season, Labonte picked up a new crew chief, Jim Long, after Gary DeHart moved into a research and development position with Hendrick Motorsports. Adding Long seems to be a change for the better for Labonte and the entire No.5 team.

"When we interviewed him (Long), I was very impressed. He came on board after the season ended last year so we kinda got a late start trying to rebuild this thing, getting it back on track. But he's come in there and just done a fantastic job. We're not where we need to be yet, but we're definitely a lot closer than we were a year ago."

"I think we got a great team and I think we're gonna just continue to improve as the year goes on. We've been having good pitstops and everything seems to be coming together for us so I'm real happy about that."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte
Teams Hendrick Motorsports