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NASCAR BGN Food City 250 Preview: #44, Bobby Labonte

21 August 1997

 #44 Bobby Labonte, Shell Oil Pontiac Grand Prix 
 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division
 Food City 250 Advance
 Bristol Motor Speedway

BRISTOL, TN - Bobby Labonte is back in a Busch Series car at Bristol Motor 
Speedway. Labonte plans to make his first Busch Series start at Bristol since 
1994 in Friday's Food City 250. The driver of the Shell Oil Pontiac says he 
is looking forward to the event. 
"I'm excited to be back at Bristol," Labonte said. "Bristol is no different 
than any other Busch race we've been to this year. We expect to have a very 
good chance to win the pole and the race. Overall, the track has been pretty 
good to me. I know I've been bounced around the last few times I've been 
there, but I've had a lot of good finishes at Bristol. I hope we can get a 
win Friday night.   

"People ask me all the time what is it like to race at Bristol. The only 
thing I can compare it to is to go to one of the nicer neighborhoods in town, 
one with the big curbing next to the street. Get in your car and run wide 
open down the street. Hit every curb, run over every mailbox and occasionally 
hit a parked car. That's a lap around Bristol."

Labonte recorded the first major win of his career at Bristol when he 
took the checkered flag in the MooreAs Snacks 250 in the spring of 1991.  He 
has a total of four top-10 finishes in seven career Busch starts at Bristol.  
Labonte says racing at Bristol has changed since the track was resurfaced 
with concrete prior to the August races in 1992.

"I think racing at Bristol was more enjoyable for the drivers before the 
track was resurfaced with concrete," Labonte said. "When the track was 
asphalt, you could run down low, in the middle, or way up high and pass 
people. With concrete, there is only one groove and you have to shove 
somebody out of the way to pass."

"We're going to take the same car we raced this year at Watkins Glen and at 
Richmond," crew chief Bryant Frazier said. "The night race at Bristol is a 
big event so naturally we want to do the very best we can. We we were 
originally scheduled to race at Bristol in April but we weren't fully 
prepared. We decided to come back in August when we were better prepared. I 
think that was the right decision."

By Camp & Associates, Inc.