NASCAR Winston Cup Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 Report: #18, B. Labonte
9 September 1997
#18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix NASCAR Winston Cup Series Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 Race Report Richmond International Raceway September 6, 1997 FAULTY ALTERNATOR CAPS FRUSTRATING WEEKEND FOR LABONTE, INTERSTATE TEAM RICHMOND, VA - Bobby Labonte saw a bad race turn into a horrible one during Saturday night's Richmond 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Labonte fell a lap behind the leaders before having to make a lengthy stop on pit road to repair alternator problems. Labonte was credited with 34th place at the finish, seven laps behind race winner Dale Jarrett. "We were off the mark from the start," Labonte said. "We were too tight in the middle of the corners and too loose off. We played with the air pressure and later we pulled the rubber out of the right front spring but we never got the car driving like it should have. Then the alternator goes out and we lost laps in the pits fixing that problem. We had a tough night." Labonte's struggles at the 0.75-mile speedway began during first round qualifying. Labonte's best lap was 21.929 seconds, 123.125 mph, 34th quickest of the 47 cars which attempted to qualify for the race. "That stunk, to be honest with you," Labonte said following his qualifying run. "That's probably the worst lap we'd run all day. It just never stuck to the race track. It wasn't pushing or loose. It just didn't feel like it had any grip." The silver lining in Labonte's otherwise cloudy performance is that he remains seventh in the Winston Cup Series championship standings, 630 points behind point leader Jeff Gordon. He trails sixth place Dale Earnhardt by 84 and leads eighth place Bill Elliott by 133 points. By Camp & Associates, Inc.