HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, March 30, 2004 -- 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...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., Tuesday, March 30, 2004 -- 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 eighth race at Texas Motor Speedway. He has competed in every NEXTEL Cup event at the 1.5-mile oval.
* Labonte finished third at TMS in 1997, 1999 and 2000. He won the Bud Pole for last year's race and started second in 1999 and 2001.
* In addition to his NEXTEL Cup duties, Labonte will drive the No. 29 National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in the O'Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series event at TMS. It will be Labonte's first Busch Series race since the spring race in 1999 at Darlington.
* Labonte is well-connected to the state of Texas, having been born in Corpus Christi and having Interstate Batteries, which is based in Dallas, serving as his primary sponsor.
* The primary car for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 will be No. 87, the car Labonte used to finish second April 21 at Darlington. Labonte also used the car at the fall race at Atlanta in 2003, where he started second and finished fifth.
* The back-up car is No. 78, the car Labonte used March 7 at Las Vegas, where he started seventh and finished eighth and used March 14 at Atlanta where he started 10th and finished 18th. In 2003, the car was used the in the second Atlanta race where Labonte finished fifth. Car No. 78 was also used at both Michigan races and the Kansas race. Labonte won the pole at both Michigan races and finished second in the car in the first Michigan race. He started fourth in the car at Kansas.
SAMSUNG/RADIO SHACK 500 PRE-RACE QUOTE:
BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet; 2000 NASCAR Champion): (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." (About competing in the Busch Race against his nephew Justin): "It's cool that's Justin's going to be racing down there in his first race of the season, and I've got the opportunity to run the Busch race, which is something I haven't done in a long time. Obviously, Terry and I will be running on Sunday together. It's a really neat deal that I'm able to take part in. Being from Texas and Texas being the race that it all came together -- I don't think it was really planned that way -- but it's near and dear to our hearts moreso than other race tracks would have been. It's cool that Texas will be the place that Justin and I will be racing against each other for the first time."