NASCAR Winston Cup Jiffy Lube 300 Race Report -- #18, Bobby Labonte
16 July 1997
By Camp & Associates, Inc. #18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix NASCAR Winston Cup Series Jiffy Lube 300 Race Report New Hampshire International Speedway LABONTE STRUGGLES AT NEW HAMPSHIRE LOUDON, NH - Bobby Labonte endured a sluggish performance in Sunday's Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Labonte started 17th and was not a factor in the 300 lap race. He finished 27th, 2 laps down to race winner Jeff Burton. "We were loose all day," Labonte said. "We ran terrible in the race. We tried everything we knew to make the car better Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and nothing worked. I was surprised when we qualified as good as we did because we didn't pick up any from our practice times. Today could have been a good points day for us because Jeff Gordon had a bad day. But you can't gain any points when you're running at the back of the pack. We need to capitalize on every opportunity we have to gain points on the leaders because those days don't come along often." "Bobby said the car was loose and we made several adjustments to tighten the car up," crew chief Jimmy Makar said. "But nothing worked. We played with the air pressure, track bar, and even took a rubber out of the right rear and nothing helped. This race puts the finishing touches on a frustrating week because we had a frustrating test at Indianapolis earlier this week." Sunday's race was another frustrating day for Labonte at New Hampshire International Speedway. Labonte has only one top-10 finish in five career starts at the flat, 1.058 mile speedway. He has finished on the lead lap only once, in 1994, when he finished 15th. His best finish in his last three Jiffy Lube 300 starts was 15th in 1995. Labonte remains seventh in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship standings, 386 point behind point leader Terry Labonte. Bobby Labonte trails sixth place Dale Earnhardt by 172 and leads eighth place Ricky Rudd by 37 points.