NASCAR BGN Detroit Gasket 200 Preview: #44, Bobby Labonte
14 August 1997
#44 Bobby Labonte, Shell Oil Pontiac Grand Prix NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Detroit Gasket 200 Advance Michigan Speedway MICHIGAN BUSCH RACE WAS A BOOST FOR LABONTE'S CAREER BROOKLYN, MI - The 1994 Detroit Gasket 200 at Michigan Speedway was a turning point for Bobby Labonte. The driver of the Shell Oil Pontiac was struggling through his sophomore season in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, but his career and confidence got a needed boost when he took the checkered flag in the Busch Series event at Michigan Speedway. "Until I won that Busch race at Michigan, I never ran good on that race track," Labonte said. "I remember the first time I went there, it had to be my worst track. I didn't drive the car into the corners deep enough and I didn't get a good feel. But that weekend I finally figured out how to get around the place. I won the Busch race on Saturday and finished fifth in the Winston Cup race on Sunday." Shell Oil Racing Team crew chief Bryant Frazier is optimistic about his team's chances in Saturday's race. "I feel like we'll be bad fast at Michigan," Frazier said. "I'm very optimistic about our chances to win the race. We will be running an engine from Joe Gibbs Racing in our car for the first time this season so we know we won't be short on horsepower. The car we're taking is the same car we ran at Charlotte. The only thing we did to the car was pack the wheel bearings. I think we should be a factor for the pole and for the win." The Shell team has won one race this season, but for the most part the season has been frustrating. Labonte and the team have battled inconsistency throughout the season. In his most recent Busch Series start, Labonte was leading the Gateway 300 at St. Louis when he hit the wall with just 32 laps remaining. "We've had our ups and downs this year," Labonte said. "I thought we were in great shape to win the race in St. Louis and then the next thing I know we're in the fence. We've had parts break and there have been times when we just missed the set-up. Then we go to Dover and win the race. We've been inconsistent, but I think we can turn that around this weekend at Michigan." By Camp & Associates, Inc.