NASCAR Winston Cup Pepsi 400 Race Report -- #18, Bobby Labonte
8 July 1997
#18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix NASCAR Winston Cup Series Pepsi 400 Race Report Daytona International Speedway July 5, 1997 LABONTE SLIPS AND SLIDES TO BEST EVER DAYTONA FINISH DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Bobby Labonte avoided a multiple car accident in the closing laps of Saturday's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway to collect his best career Daytona finish. Labonte finished tenth in the wild scramble to the checkered flag, his tenth top-10 effort of the season and his best finish at Daytona since the 1996 Daytona 500. "We struggled for the entire 400 miles," Labonte said. "I don't know how in the world we finished tenth. The car was sliding around entering the corners and had a killer push from the center of the corner on out. We tried everything we knew to try and nothing worked. We finally took a spring rubber out of the right front and made a major chassis adjustment but the car was still sliding and pushing. The car was so bad I couldn't help anybody draft because I couldn't get to the bottom of the track. But we did salvage a good finish and that's very positive." "I tried to think what I needed to do to make the car better," crew chief Jimmy Makar said. "I didn't know what to do to make the car better and neither did Bobby. The car didn't act that way at all in practice on Friday afternoon, not even on 50 lap tires. We were stumped." Labonte remains seventh in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship standings, 371 points behind point leader Jeff Gordon. He trails sixth place Dale Earnhardt by 84 and leads eighth place Ricky Rudd by 93 points. The Interstate Batteries Racing Team will be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Monday through Wednesday testing for the August 2 Brickyard 400. The team plans to leave Indianapolis and travel directly to Loudon, New Hampshire for the July 13 Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Labonte's Busch Series team transporter will be bring the New Hampshire Winston Cup cars to Indianapolis so the Interstate team can leave directly from the speedway. By Camp & Associates, Inc.