Bobby Labonte's 21
Nextel Cup victories include wins in some of NASCAR’s marquee
events, such as the Brickyard 400, the Southern 500 and the
Coca-Cola 600. But despite all Labonte’s success, the 2000 Nextel
Cup Champion is still seeking his first Nextel Cup victory in his
This weekend’s NASCAR events at Texas Motor Speedway will be a
family reunion of sorts for the Labontes – with three members of
one of the Lone Star State’s most revered racing families taking to
For Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500, Bobby and his older brother,
two-time Nextel Cup champion “Texas” Terry Labonte, are considered
hometown favorites, even though they are natives of Corpus Christi,
Texas, over 400 miles away.
"It's always a great feeling going back to Texas because we can
usually get more cheers than other cats do, so that's always a lot
of fun,” Labonte said. “If you were to start at the race track and
drive to Corpus Christi, it's seven or eight hours. In perspective,
it's like going from Highpoint (N.C.) to Talladega. That's a long
ways but Texas is a big state. At the same time it is cool to go
back. We have huge hospitalities there and a lot of fans that crave
racing. It's cool to be there. We are from Texas and we'll always be
Labonte will pull double duty this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway,
returning to the Busch Series for the first time since 1999.
Labonte, the 1991 Busch Series Champion, is part of an all star team
of five drivers who will run one race each in the #29 Chevrolet
owned by Richard Childress, with sponsorship from the Employer
Support for the Guard and Reserves.
The ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that maintains employer
support from all public and private employers for the men and women
who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
"We're really excited,” Labonte said of returning to the Busch
Series. “It's a great opportunity to get back in the Busch Series in
a very unique situation driving a car for Richard Childress, which
is not like driving for Joe Gibbs Racing or one of my own.”
Joining Labonte in Saturday O’Reilly 300 will be his nephew Justin
Labonte, Terry’s son. Justin will be running a limited 15-race
schedule this season in the Busch Series for the Labonte Motorsports
team, with sponsorship from the United States Coast Guard.
“I've never raced against Justin before but I've seen him race and
I've been to tests with him and things like that,” Labonte said.
“I'm always looking at his career and trying to help him out as much
as I can without really getting in the way, so this is a great
“I told Terry (Labonte) he should get a car and run with us. But it
didn’t quite pan out.”
Bobby will be making his 8th Nextel Cup start at the 1.5-mile oval,
having competed in every Nextel Cup event run at the facility.
Although Terry Labonte was a winner at the track in 1999, Bobby is
still winless despite three third-place finishes and one pole at
While TMS closely resembles its sister tracks, Lowe’s Motor Speedway
and Atlanta Motor Speedway, it is an altogether different animal.
Since its opening in 1997, the track has undergone many changes,
including a reconfiguring of the exit of turn four and a total
reconstruction of the racing surface in 1999.
The result is a slick, fast, meat-grinder of a race track that, for
Labonte, is still a fun place to race.
“It's a fast, fast track,” Labonte said. “We all know it doesn't
take fast tracks to make for good racing, but we've also seen fast
race tracks that make for great racing. It just happens that way.
“It's a good place to race. I think there are things that could make
it better, but you can probably say that about 90 percent of the
tracks. It's kind of like Atlanta when it was repaved. When the
weather seasons the racetrack, it gets better by itself.
“We definitely love to go there. It's one of the neatest tracks we
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