Skip Barber trained Bobby Labonte clinched the first of what he hopes will be many Winston Cup championships when he scored a fourth place result at the Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Labonte came into the weekend with a 218-point lead,...
Skip Barber trained Bobby Labonte clinched the first of what he hopes will be many Winston Cup championships when he scored a fourth place result at the Pennzoil 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Labonte came into the weekend with a 218-point lead, needing to finish fifth or better to clinch. Over the past few weeks, the Texan had refused to discuss his points lead or speculate on the championship, preferring to do his talking on the track. After today's race, he seemed relieved that the subject was closed.
"It's definitely a great feeling," said Labonte. "I'm sure when I wake up tomorrow it will sink in more as it goes on. It's definitely overwhelming, and it's the greatest thing."
Labonte's 2000 season is destined for a highlight reel. He registered four victories, 18 top-fives, no DNFs, and never finished lower than 26th this season. With one race left on the schedule, he has an opportunity to tie his career-best five victories in a single season  next time out in Atlanta. Joining Labonte in the Skip Barber trained Top-10 were Jeremy Mayfield, who finished two positions better than the champion in second place, Jimmy Spencer (5th), Jeff Gordon (7th) and Steve Park (8th).
A day earlier, former Winston Cup winner Jeff Gordon closed out the Busch Series season with a victory in the Miami 300, also on the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead. Gordon completed the circuits in 2:23.29 sec. for an average speed of 125.45 mph. Fellow Barberite Jeff Burton earned a fifth place result in the season finale.
In European race action, Skip Barber trained racers Phil Giebler, Joey Hand and Josh Rehm successfully completed first and second rounds of the Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series at the Snetterton circuit in England. Round 1 results; Giebler (3rd), Hand (7th), Rehm (8th). Round 2 results; Hand (2nd), Giebler (6th), Rehm (7th). Hand, the polesitter for the second race, tripped the fastest lap with a time of 1:04.745 sec. at 108.35 mph.