NASCAR Winston Cup Series Mountain Dew Southern 500 Report: #18, B. Labonte
3 September 1997
#18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix NASCAR Winston Cup Series Mountain Dew Southern 500 Race Report Darlington Raceway August 31, 1997 LABONTE WINS SECOND POLE OF 97 SEASON AT DARLINGTON DARLINGTON, SC - Bobby Labonte won his second Busch Pole position of the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup season at Darlington Raceway Friday afternoon during time trials for Sunday's Mountain Dew Southern 500. Labonte blazed around the 1.366 mile Darlington Raceway in 28.815 seconds, 170.661 mph. Following his run, Labonte said he and the entire crew were very happy about their qualifying effort. "That was a pretty darn good lap," Labonte said. "When Jimmy Makar (crew chief) said it was an .80, I said, 'Boy I really screwed up,' thinking it was a 29.80. It was a really quick lap. Usually I slow down for qualifying, so that's pretty good. The Interstate Batteries Racing Team did a great job. The reconfiguration of the track didn't bother me. As long as there's a flagman there, we'll be OK." Labonte went on to score his 14th top-10 finish of the season in the 500 mile, 367 lap event. An ill-handling car forced him to settle for a seventh place finish. "I was pushing and loose all day long," Labonte said. "We were slipping and sliding and we kept adjusting on it as we went. I about spun out on my own own one time. I hit the wall a little bit one time, and just hung on for about 490 miles. We changed a lot of stuff today trying to get better. The radio went out early on and we had to adjust our shocks under caution. We got lucky when we caught a caution when we were about to get lapped. "I heard somebody say the other day we were always hot and cold, and I don't know where they get the hot and cold at. Seventh in the points and close to sixth isn't bad right now with the competition the way it is today." Labonte remains seventh in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship standings, 526 points behind point leader Jeff Gordon. He trails sixth place Dale Earnhardt by 27 and leads eighth place Bill Elliott by 150 points. By Camp & Associates, Inc.