Labonte heads home to Texas for NASCAR national start 900


The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Bobby Labonte’s home state of Texas this weekend for Sunday’s running of the AAA Texas 500, and the Corpus Christi native will hit a career milestone at his home track when he takes the green flag from behind the wheel of the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Toyota. This weekend’s race will mark Labonte’s 900th NASCAR national series start.

Early in his racing career, Labonte worked on his older brother Terry Labonte’s race cars, racing sparingly in the Nationwide (then-Busch) Series throughout the 1980s. When the 1990s rolled around, though, Labonte went full-time racing at the Nationwide level.

Labonte claimed the Nationwide Series title as an owner/driver in 1991. In 1994, he claimed a second series championship as an owner with David Green driving his car. By then, Labonte was driving at the Sprint (then-Winston) Cup level.

Labonte made the move to full-time Cup racing in 1993, driving first for Bill Davis Racing and then for Joe Gibbs Racing. Labonte arrived at JGR in 1995 and claimed his first-career Cup win that year, claiming victory in NASCAR’s longest race — the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Labonte spent 11 years behind the wheel of the No. 18 car at Joe Gibbs Racing and racked up stats that included 21 race wins and the 2000 Cup championship while driving the No. 18.

Labonte left JGR after the 2005 season to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports (then-Petty Enterprises). He drove the iconic No. 43 for four seasons before moving on to Hall of Fame Racing after the 2008 season. Labonte also had a stint with TRG Motorsports before making the move to JTG-Daugherty Racing prior to the start of the 2011 season.

Labonte is in his second year driving for JTG-Daugherty. He finds himself 23rd in points with only three races to go in the 2012 season. So far this year, he has two top-10 finishes.

Throughout his NASCAR career, Labonte has made 687 starts at the Cup level, posting 21 wins, 115 top-fives and 203 top-10 finishes. In the Nationwide Series, he has 202-career starts that include 10 wins. Labonte has also competed in 10 Camping World Truck Series races, posting one win.

Labonte’s racing resume isn’t limited to NASCAR driver, though. Several years ago, he started Breaking Limits, a racing public relations/marketing company. Non-NASCAR-related racing accomplishments also include the IROC championship he won in 2001.

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Tags: Bobby Labonte NASCAR Texas Motor Speedway