Sprint Cup - Bobby Labonte All-Star Race Weekend Preview
CONCORD, May 19, 2011: Bobby Labonte’s best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race finish is second-place, which has occurred twice (1997 and 1998) on home turf at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway quad-oval. Unlike years past, Labonte is not guaranteed a starting position in the All-Star Race and will be fighting for one of two transfer spots from the Sprint Showdown or the Sprint Fan Vote.
With $1 million up for grabs, Labonte and his JTG Daugherty Racing team do not want to miss out on the opportunity with the No. 47 Reese Towpower Toyota Camry that is carrying the www.getswabbed.org website on the TV panel for DKMS.
“It’s no fun being on the outside looking in,” said Labonte. “But, we have more confidence going into this race and we feel really good about it. Obviously, you have to be one of the top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown or voted in by the fans to advance into the big race. Hopefully, we can just go out there and win the Sprint Showdown. If we can win it, we can stay in it.”
Some of Labonte’s greatest achievements include the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship along with coveted victories in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (his first NSCS career win) and the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway to name a few. The 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner would like to add an All-Star win to his résumé if he transfers into the main event.
“The All-Star event is a special race and oh by the way, it pays $1 million to win,” Labonte said. “The intensity level is different during our All-Star event like no other sport. I mean we are going 200 mph and we’re on the ragged edge. This weekend’s race is one of the harder races we go to on the schedule. You figure you have 10 to 15 laps of racing and you better be on your game. It’s not like you’re running 60 to 70 laps on a tank of gas and saying we’ll get better on the next stop. This is no holds barred. The intensity level is up because there is a $1 million dangling out there.”
One can assume that Charlotte Motor Speedway is on Labonte’s list of favorite tracks especially since his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career victory was the Coca-Cola 600 in 1995. The Corpus Christi, Texas-native also won at Charlotte in October 2000 and has three poles there along with 12 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes leading into the Coca-Cola 600 next week.
“I won my first Cup race there and I’ve always seemed to run well there,” Labonte said. “For the drivers and fans, this is a big two weeks for us. I always enjoy going to Charlotte. I love racing there. I think it has to be a top-five favorite track on everyone’s list. I’m looking forward to going back with JTG Daugherty Racing, Reese Towpower and DKMS.”
Live coverage of the Showdown on Saturday, May 21st begins at 7 p.m. ET on SPEED followed by the All-Star race at 9 p.m. MRN Radio will also carry the event.