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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

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.