NASCAR Winston Cup Series MBNA 400 Report: #18, Bobby Labonte
22 September 1997
#18 Bobby Labonte, Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix NASCAR Winston Cup Series MBNA 400 Race Report Dover Downs International Speedway September 21, 1997 LABONTE PLEASED AT DOVER FINISH DOVER, DE - Bobby Labonte didn't win Sunday's MBNA 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway, but the driver of the Interstate Batteries Pontiac was all smiles after the checkered flag. Labonte finished fourth, the last driver to complete all 400 miles and collected his sixth top-five finish of the 1997 season. "We're excited we got a top-five because we've struggled the past two weeks," Labonte said. "Jimmy Makar did a great job in the pits and the guys were great on pit road all day. We calculated our fuel mileage to where we could make one less stop than some of the other guys. We didn't have to make an extra stop at the end of the race and that gained us a couple of spots at the end of the race. I told everybody after the Michigan race I didn't like fuel mileage races but today was pretty good for us. "The Interstate Batteries Pontiac was comfortable to drive all day. The car wasn't as good as I wanted it to be yesterday afternoon. I couldn't figure out how to make it better, so we had to live with it and try to work with it throughout the race. The car wasn't bad; just a couple of other cars were better." The Interstate Batteries Racing Team had its best performance on pit road all season at Dover Downs Sunday. The crew had its fastest pit stop of the year, 17.40 seconds for four tires and fuel on lap 92. Labonte remains seventh in the Winston Cup Series championship standings, 688 points behind leader Jeff Gordon. He trails sixth place Dale Earnhardt by 123 and leads eighth place Bill Elliott by 139 points. The Interstate Batteries team has a busy week planned. A two day tire test at the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday will be a travel day to Martinsville, Virginia, site of next weekend's Hanes 500. Winston Cup teams check into the Martinsville Speedway Friday morning, with practice and qualifying scheduled later that same day. By Camp & Associates, Inc.