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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

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.