Texas: Bobby Labonte preview

BOBBY LABONTE SAMSUNG/RADIO SHACK 500 NOTES AND QUOTES HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, April 12, 2005 -- The following are Samsung/Radio Shack 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet...

BOBBY LABONTE SAMSUNG/RADIO SHACK 500 NOTES AND QUOTES

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, April 12, 2005 -- The following are Samsung/Radio Shack 500 pre-race notes and quotes for Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing.

SAMSUNG/RADIO SHACK 500 PRE-RACE NOTES:

* Labonte will attempt to start his ninth NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. He has competed in every NEXTEL Cup event at the 1.5-mile track with a best finish of third in 1997, 1999 and 2000.

* Labonte has won the last two Bud Poles at Texas, has five starts of fourth or better and has never qualified lower than 15th. His 6.25 starting average is the best of any driver who has started all eight races at TMS.

* In 2004, Labonte started on the Bud Pole but finished 25th after an alternator problem caused him to finish four laps down.

* Labonte is 37th in the 2005 NEXTEL Cup point standings. He had an engine problem on Lap 14 at Daytona and late in the race at Martinsville; and was involved in early accidents at Las Vegas, Atlanta and Bristol.

* Interstate Batteries, the primary sponsor of the No. 18 car, is located in Dallas, just a short drive from Texas Motor Speedway. Also, Labonte was born in Corpus Christi, Texas.

* The primary car for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 is chassis No. 87, the same car Labonte drove to a 13th-place finish at California and finished 41st with at Las Vegas after an early accident. In 2004, Labonte drove the car to second place in March at Darlington and won the Bud Pole with the car in April at Texas. He finished fifth with the car in May at California, eighth in June at Michigan, 13th in May at Charlotte, 15th in August at Indianapolis and 18th in July at Chicagoland. In October, Labonte crashed the car during practice at Charlotte and in the fall Atlanta race, he used the car to start 19th and finish 20th. He also drove the car at the fall race at Atlanta in 2003, where he started second and finished fifth.

* The back up car is chassis No. 78, the car Labonte used in 2004 at both Pocono races where he finished third and 29th (accident). He finished eighth in March at Las Vegas, 18th in March at Atlanta, 18th in September at New Hampshire and 17th in October at Charlotte. In 2003, the car was used in the second Atlanta race, where Labonte finished fifth. Chassis No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole for both races at Michigan and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:

* Labonte will attend the 36th annual Gospel Music Association Awards on April 13 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.

* Labonte, along with his brother, Terry, and nephew, Justin, will meet with the media during the NEXTEL Wake-Up call at 10 a.m. April 15 in the media center at TMS.

TEXAS PRE-RACE QUOTE:

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): "We'd obviously like to be in a better position than we are right now. We've had a lot of things happen to us this year and not a lot of it has been positive. It's either been an accident or mechanical. It's frustrating, but I think we showed at Bristol and at Martinsville that we can run up front. We just haven't had things go our way. Is it frustrating? Sure, but we're going to show up each week and continue to try to win races and remain positive." (About racing in Texas): "It's been so long since we have lived there. The fans there are just incredible though. I feel like I have been adopted in a way since we moved from Corpus when I was about 15 or so. We have lived in North Carolina since that time. When we first went there back in 1997 to race at Texas, it was just incredible the people that came up to Terry and I telling us they were so proud of us and what we had accomplished. It has been like that every year and that is kind of cool. It will definitely be busy out there for me, but it will be a lot of fun. Interstate Batteries is based out there in Dallas so they have me doing a lot right when I hit the ground. It's our only time out in that area and we do a lot of appearances and such for them while we're there. It's always good to see everyone at their corporate offices and kind of walk around and shake hands with all the people you're representing. They're more like family than a sponsor. We've been together longer than almost all the other team, driver, sponsor arrangements and I am proud of that. It's one big family."

-jgr-

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