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NASCAR Winston Cup CMT 300 Report: #18, Bobby Labonte

16 September 1997

 #18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 CMT 300 Race Report
 New Hampshire International Speedway
 September 14, 1997


LOUDON, NH - Bobby Labonte struggled at the first Winston Cup race at
New Hampshire International Speedway in July, but he turned in a more
competitive effort in Sunday's CMT 300. Labonte finished 15th, on the
lead lap, far better than his 27th place finish two months ago at the
flat 1.058 mile track.

"We were better this time than we were in July," Labonte said. "I
think both Jimmy (Makar, crew chief) and Joe (Gibbs, team owner) would
agree that the July New Hampshire race was our worst performance of
the year. So I'm glad we were able to be more competitive this
time. We are not happy with a 15th place finish. We're never happy
unless we win the race so we still have work to do.

"We started the race too loose," Labonte said. "We made some
adjustments to the car and got it too tight from the center of the
corner on out. So on the next stop we pulled the rubber out of the
right front spring. The car just never did go like it needed to. At
least we got a decent finish."

Labonte's weekend started off on a positive note when he earned the
12th starting position during first round time trials with a lap of
29.929 seconds, 127.261 mph. He was also prophetic.

"I thought we had a little bit better run in practice, but so did a
lot of other guys," Labonte said after his run. "We qualified better
than last time so I can't complain (he started 17th in the July
race). Maybe we'll race better."

Labonte remains seventh in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship
standings, 697 points behind point leader Jeff Gordon. He trails sixth
place Dale Earnhardt by 108 and leads eighth place Bill Elliott by 121
By Camp & Associates, Inc.