Terry Labonte NASCAR


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Terry Labonte Early life Terry Labonte started racing quarter-midgets when he was 7 and won
a national championship at nine before moving onto the local short tracks in a stock car
as a teenager. Driving on both dirt and asphalt, he won track championships in his hometown,
in Houston, and in San Antonio from 1975 to 1977. During this time he also met Louisiana
businessman Billy Hagan. 1978–1985 Labonte’s first NASCAR start came in 1978 at Darlington
Raceway. He qualified nineteenth in the #92 Duck Industries Chevrolet and finished fourth
that weekend. He ran four more races that season and had an additional two top-ten finishes.
In 1979, he competed for NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year along with Dale Earnhardt,
Harry Gant, and Joe Millikan while driving the #44 Stratagraph Chevrolet for Hagan. Although
Labonte failed to win the top rookie award, he was one of three rookies to finish in the
top 10 in points. He ended the season with thirteen top-ten finishes. The following year,
he won his first career Winston Cup race on Labor Day weekend at Darlington. He won $222,501
in prize money for the year and finished sixth in the final points. Labonte failed to return
to victory lane over the next two years but did not finish outside the top-five in the
final standings. He won his second career race in 1983 in the Budweiser Chevrolet. His
team received sponsorship from Piedmont Airlines the following season, and he won races at
Riverside International Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway, clinching his first Winston
Cup championship. He dropped to seventh in the final points in 1985. During that same
season, he made his Busch Series debut at Charlotte in the #17 Pontiac owned by Darrell
Waltrip and won the 400-mile race, the longest in Busch Series history. Waltrip asked Labonte
to drive after deciding to focus his driving his priorities solely to Winston Cup racing
during the middle of what would be Waltrip's 307-point gain over Bill Elliott in the final
eight races of the 1985 season. 1986–1993 Labonte fell back to twelfth in the standings
in 1986. Before season's end, he announced he was leaving Hagan's team to drive the #11
Budweiser Chevrolet for Junior Johnson's team the next year. In his first season with his
new team, he earned four pole-position starts and won the Holly Farms 400, leaping up to
third in the final standings. He followed that up with a fourth-place points finish
in 1988, including a win in Sprint All-Star Race IV. In 1989, the team switched to Ford
Thunderbirds. Despite two wins during the season, he fell back to tenth in the championship.
In 1990 He signed with the #1 Skoal Classic Oldsmobile team for Precision Products Racing.
He had four top-fives and nine top-tens but finished 15th in the points standings. He
returned to Billy Hagan's team to drive his #94 Sunoco Oldsmobile in 1991, winning his
first pole since 1988. He began 1992 with finishes inside the top 8 in each of the first
eight races. He had a total of four top-five finishes and sixteen top-tens, ending the
season eighth in points. The following season, the team switched to the #14 Kellogg's Chevrolet.
While he had ten top-tens, for the first time in his career, Labonte failed to finish a
race in the top-five and he dropped to eighteenth in points. 1994–2002 In 1994, Labonte joined
Hendrick Motorsports, racing the #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet and responded by notching 3 wins
in each of his first two years there, including a famous win at Bristol in 1995, where the
front of his car was wrecked after Dale Earnhardt Sr. crashed into him in the final lap. In
1996, he broke Richard Petty’s streak for consecutive races after winning at North Wilkesboro.
Despite only two victories, Labonte went on to win the championship that year as well,
a record-setting twelve years after his first. Driving with a broken hand during the last
two races of the season, Labonte and his younger brother Bobby were able to perform a dual
victory lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the last race of the year; Bobby won the race
and Terry the championship on the final day of the season, the only time a driver and
his sibling won the race and the championship at the same time. Labonte posted twenty top-ten
finishes in 1997 and notched his only win of the year at the fall race at Talladega
Superspeedway. In 1998, Labonte was able to win the Pontiac Excitement 400 and finished
ninth in points. Despite a win at his home track at Texas Motor Speedway and Sprint All-Star
Race XV in 1999, Labonte finished 12th in the championship points, the first time he
had finished outside the top-ten since 1993. The year 2000 saw Labonte's consecutive start
streak broken at 655 after he suffered inner ear injuries at the Pepsi 400 and was forced
to miss the Brickyard 400 and the Global Crossing @ The Glen. He began 2001 with two top-six
finishes in the first seven races but finished 23rd in the final point standings. He dropped
back to 24th in 2002 with one top-five finish and four top-ten finishes. 2003–2008 In
2003, Labonte won his first pole since 2000 at Richmond and won the Mountain Dew Southern
500 (where 23 years earlier he won his first race) at Darlington Raceway after leading
the last 33 laps. It was only his second win in a crown jewel event (the other being in
the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in 1980). That helped lead him to a tenth place
spot in the final standings. 2004 was much more of a struggle for Labonte, and Hendrick
Motorsports announced Kyle Busch as Labonte's replacement when he retired. Late in the 2004
season, Labonte announced that 2004 would be his final full-time year on the circuit
and would run part-time schedules for the next two years. The part-time schedule was
nicknamed, "Shifting Gears: Lone Star Style." Labonte began his semi-retirement in 2005.
He borrowed the number 44, his former number, from Petty Enterprises and ran Hendrick's
#44 research and development car with sponsorship from Kellogg's, Pizza Hut, and GMAC. His best
finish in 2005 for Hendrick Motorsports came at Pocono Raceway, where he finished 12th.
He also drove a few races in the #11 Fedex Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing following the
release of Jason Leffler, with a top finish of 9th at Richmond. Labonte began the 2006
season driving the #96 Texas Instruments/DLP HDTV Chevrolet Monte Carlo car for Hall of
Fame Racing, a new team started by former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Roger Staubach
and Troy Aikman. Labonte's past-champion's provisional guaranteed the team a starting
spot in the first five races. Labonte's finishes in those races left the team in 30th place
in points, sealing a spot for the team in each race as long as they remained in the
top 35. Tony Raines took over the driving duties for the #96 car and ran the rest of
the season's races, with the exception of the road-course races at Infineon Raceway,
in Sonoma, California, and Watkins Glen International, in Watkins Glen, New York. Labonte's best
finish of 2006 came at Infineon, where he finished 3rd due to a fuel mileage gamble
by the crew chief of the #96 DLP/Texas Instruments Chevrolet, Philippe Lopez. Labonte also ran
ten races with Hendrick Motorsports research and development car in 2006. During the 2007
season, Labonte drove three races for Michael Waltrip Racing, both road course events, and
the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, in the 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry. On May 11,
2008, it was announced that Labonte would drive the #45 car of Petty Enterprises for
six races in the middle of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, replacing Kyle Petty on a temporary
basis. Labonte was reunited with brother Bobby, who was the regular driver of the #43 for
Petty. Labonte posted two solid top-twenty runs in the six-race tenure, a 16th at Daytona
and a 17th at Infineon, both the best finishes for the 45 car this season. It was later announced
that he would drive for Petty again in the Brickyard 400 and would also drive in place
of Patrick Carpentier in The American Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Labonte was back in
the #45 car for Petty Enterprises when the Sprint Cup Series went to the Michigan International
Speedway for the 3M Performance 400 on August 17, 2008. He would be back in the #45 car
again for the AMP Energy 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway for the final time in the 2008
Sprint Cup Season. He would go on to post a 17th-place finish, even after sustaining
severe damage in one of the multi-car accidents. Labonte's results in 2008 proved far better
on average than the previous three seasons, while driving also part-time. 2009–2010
It was reported first on January 23, 2009, that Labonte would attempt to make the Daytona
500 for Prism Motorsports, driving the #66 Window World Toyota. The team announced they
planned to race full-time with Dave Blaney after Daytona. Labonte started 43rd, and went
a lap down. He managed to get his lap back and fought up to finish 24th in the rain-shortened
event. Starting at Indianapolis in 2009, Labonte drove the #08 Toyota for Carter/Simo Racing
for four races. It was reported that Labonte would be forming a new team with Bill Stavola,
formerly the co-owner of Stavola Brothers Racing. It has been confirmed that Labonte
will drive 3 races in the 2010 Sprint Cup Series season for the team, in the #10 Chevy
at Richmond, Charlotte and Texas. Labonte barely missed making the field at Richmond,
but took the Gander Mountain sponsorship to the #55 Prism Motorsports car which had qualified
37th. Labonte would finish 40th in the race after an accident forced him out. He also
raced at Phoenix for Whitney Motorsports. 2011–2012 It was announced that Frank Stoddard
would be starting his own team, FAS Lane Racing, with Labonte driving the #32 U.S. Chrome Ford
Fusion in the Daytona 500. Labonte started 43rd and finished a respectable 15th. Terry
is semi-retired, but competed in seven additional races over the course of the year in the No.
32. He will return to the No. 32 to compete in the 2012 Daytona 500. NASCAR official duties
On June 12, 2007, Labonte tested for Richard Childress Racing at the Montreal's Circuit
Gilles Villeneuve track in an official NASCAR compatibility test for the August 4 NAPA Auto
Parts 200 presented by Dodge Busch Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. NASCAR
wanted a driver they were assured would not race in the NAPA Auto Parts 200, and were
concerned Childress drivers Jeff Burton or Kevin Harvick would race in the event. Honors
In 1998, the senior Labonte was named as one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers. A park was
renamed for the Labonte brothers in their hometown of Corpus Christi in 2001, and they
were chosen for entry into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Labonte supports a variety
of charities and due to his efforts, the Ronald McDonald House in Corpus Christi, the Victory
Junction Gang Camp near Randleman, North Carolina, and the Hendrick Marrow Program all have benefited.
Competition in other series In addition to his 22 wins in Sprint Cup, Labonte has won
11 races in the Nationwide Series and 1 in the Craftsman Truck Series. He has been the
champion of the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring as well as three all-star
races: the Busch Clash (now known as the Budweiser Shootout) in 1985 and The Winston (now the
Sprint All-Star Challenge) in 1988 and 1999. He also won the IROC championship in 1989.
Including his two championship seasons, he has finished in the top 10 in the year-end
standings 17 times, and his top-five and top-ten totals approach 25 percent and 50 percent,
respectively, of his total races. Career results * Season in progress to the 1 Ineligible for
series points edit NASCAR Camping World Truck Series