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NASCAR Winston Cup Bud at Watkins Glen Preview: #18, Bobby Labonte

5 August 1997

 #18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Brickyard 400 Race Report
 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
 August 2, 1997  


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Jimmy Makar is no stranger to winning races by gambling on 
fuel mileage, but the veteran crew chief nearly pulled off the biggest win of 
his career in Saturday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As the fourth annual stock car race at the hallowed speedway entered its 
final laps, fuel mileage and track position became the factors that would 
ultimately decide the outcome of the event. Makar decided to take a 
calculated risk with both.

"We knew we had enough gas to make it to the white flag lap," Makar said. "So 
we decided to try to stretch it to the end. We didn't stop for tires and 
didn't stop for gas. The thing that concerned me was when that caution came 
out with only a few laps to go and some of the leaders pitted for four fresh 
tires. But the guys who came in and got tires were stuck in traffic and 
couldn't get to the front. They didn't have enough laps to catch us."

"I just couldn't get around Ricky Rudd at the end of the race," Bobby Labonte 
said. "I got close enough to take a good look at him when we came off turn 
four on the last lap but that was all I could do. Jimmy and all the guys on 
the Interstate Batteries Racing Team did a great job. This is a great run for 
our team because we've struggled in the last few races. The Brickyard 400 is 
one of the biggest races we run so this finish is going to be a big shot in 
the arm for all our guys. We didn't qualify all that well but we kept getting 
the car better and better all weekend."

Labonte remains seventh in the Winston Cup Series championship standings, 423 
points behind leader Jeff Gordon. He trails sixth place Dale Earnhardt by 80 
and has a 102 point lead on eighth place Ricky Rudd.

By Camp & Associates, Inc.