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NASCAR BGN: Bobby Labonte Knows Secret to Success at Michigan

8 August 1998

BROOKLYN, MI - As a previous NASCAR Busch Grand National race winner at Michigan Speedway, Bobby Labonte knows the secret to success at the two-mile oval.

"You have to be smooth and consistent," said Labonte. "Michigan is a fast track. You need to stay out of trouble, save your tires and equipment and be there at the end."

Labonte will drive the Shell Pontiac for teammate Tony Stewart in the August 15 Pepsi 200. The race will be the fourth time Labonte has joined the Shell team this season in NASCAR BGN competition. Stewart is unable to drive the Shell Pontiac at Michigan due to the contractual commitment he has with Menard Racing to compete in the Indy Racing League event in Colorado.

"The great runs Tony has had in the Shell Pontiac on long tracks this season is a good indication of the strength of the Shell team's speedway program," Labonte continued. "They have been very competitive, running up front all day with the leaders. With my previous experience with the team and at the track, we should be able to be solid right off the truck and initially concentrate on a qualifying set-up that will get us a starting spot up front.

"If we are able to spend happy hour just fine-tuning our race set-up," Labonte continued, "We will have opportunities to get the car perfect during pit stops. The Shell team has a great over-the-wall pit crew. Even during a green flag stop, a 100 lap race at Michigan gives you time to make those minor adjustments to be in front at the finish. Although I am the substitute driver, the goal of the this team is to take Shell to victory lane every time the Shell Pontiac enters a race."

Prior to this season, Labonte was the owner/driver of the Shell-sponsored team running a limited BGN schedule. Following the sale of the team to Joe Gibbs Racing, Shell Oil Company made the decision to continue as the primary sponsor for 1998.

Labonte has nine NASCAR BGN victories to his credit. He has garnered 47 top- five and 87 top-ten finishes and was crowned the series champion in 1991. In four previous Michigan Speedway BGN competition, Labonte captured the win in 1994, finished six in 1996 and third last year.