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NASCAR Winston Cup ITW DeVilbiss 400 Report: #18, Bobby Labonte

18 August 1997

 #18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 ITW DeVilbiss 400 Race Report
 Michigan Speedway
 August 17, 1997

                       LABONTE SIXTH AT MICHIGAN

BROOKLYN, MI - Bobby Labonte beat the weather in Sunday's DeVilbiss 400 at 
Michigan Speedway but had to settle for a sixth-place finish in the 
400-mile race. Labonte led the event twice for two laps but could not get 
back to the front of the pack as the race drew toward its conclusion. 
Labonte's effort was the tenth top-10 finish of the season for the 
Interstate Batteries Racing Team.

"We had a good car today but we couldn't get back to the front at the end 
of the race," Labonte said. "Mark Martin was very strong and I don't know 
if I had anything for him. We tried a little different pit strategy and it 
didn't work as well as we thought it would. Everyone on the team wanted a 
win, but we did get a good finish and that's important because it helps us 
in the points."

Rain was factor throughout the race. The event ran under heavy overcast 
skies and two of the event's three caution flags were for rain. The most 
significant delay was the second caution of the race that lasted a total of 
23 laps. 

"The rain was falling hard enough where we couldn't race and we couldn't 
stop," said crew chief Jimmy Makar. "We decided to come in on lap145 and get 
fuel because we knew we could go the rest of the way on gas. If the race 
stayed green, some of the guys in front of us couldn't make it. But all that 
went out the window when the last yellow flag came out because that gave guys 
ahead of us enough of a cushion to make it to the end."

Labonte remains seventh in the Winston Cup Series Championship standings, 576 
points behind leader Jeff Gordon. He trails sixth-place Dale Earnhardt by 126 
points and leads eighth place Ted Musgrave by 139 points.

By Camp & Associates, Inc.