Tag Archives: Terry Labonte

Holding a Pretty Wheel: Tragedy Only Fueled Hendrick’s Triumph In Their Darkest Hour

It was the first time Brian Vickers smiled all weekend. That was my first thought one Sunday afternoon, a scant four years ago when the dust had settled after the 2004 Bass Pro Shops 500. The second was that it took extraordinary courage and poise for the winning team to be there at all. Racing rarely gives much, but it can take in an instant. Tragedy is constantly a hairbreadth away, and inevitably, sometimes, that line is crossed. Perhaps not so strangely, in a sport that is fueled by danger and excitement, triumph can also be fueled by tragedy.

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Did You Notice? The Busch-Edwards Rivalry That Isn’t, Truex’s Public Posturing, And Touting Terry Labonte?

Did You Notice? In a story I first broke last April to many doubters, ESPN.com confirmed Tuesday night Tony Stewart will indeed leave Joe Gibbs Racing after a decade and jump ship to Haas CNC. Things remained on track almost exactly as I reported -- Stewart will own a 50% share in the organization, with the driver of the second car almost universally expected to be Ryan Newman.

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Bubble Breakdown: Last-Lap Restrictor-Plate Mayhem Ruins Night For Several Bubble Teams

As NASCAR made its first return trip to a racetrack in 2008, several bubble teams once again showed signs of life during Friday’s qualifying session. Joe Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, and Regan Smith turned laps that qualified them in the fourth, fifth, and eighth starting positions respectively, serving notice they planned to be a force during the race at Daytona the following day. On the flip side of that, JJ Yeley’s No. 96 Toyota and Scott Riggs’ No. 66 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet -- teams who sat 36th and 37th respectively in owner points -- both failed to qualify, giving somewhat of a break to those teams already (un)comfortably within the Top 35 in the owner standings. Let’s break down this week's bubble from the Daytona International Speedway:

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The Yellow Stripe: Drought Busters – Who’s Gone The Longest Without A Trip To Victory Lane?

Over the last couple of years Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered his own version of an epic drought, as NASCAR’s most famous son hadn’t won a race for more than two whole seasons. While Earnhardt finally got his win — a fuel-mileage triumph at Michigan on June 15th — the streak lasted for a stretch of some 76 races, or 404 days for those so mathematically inclined. It’s fair to say the "Dale Jr. Drought" did not have the financial and societal effects of the Dust Bowl, but for those caught up in both — the workers so graphically depicted in Steinbeck’s tome and Junior Nation — it must have felt, for a while at least, as if it was never going to end. But end both did; and surprisingly enough, in each case the world continued to revolve safely on its axis.

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10 Points to Ponder… After the 2008 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

1. Still Able To Get ‘Er Done - 1995 Busch (Nationwide) Series Champion and 1996 Winston (Sprint) Cup Rookie of the Year Johnny Benson won for the third consecutive time at the Milwaukee Mile in the Camping World RV 200 Craftsman Truck Series race Friday evening. With the win, Benson maintains his CTS points lead in the drivers standings by 50-points over Todd Bodine. Benson has 10 wins in since moving to the CTS in 2005 after not being able to any longer secure a competitive Cup ride. Is the Craftsman Truck Series where Cup veterans are sent to die... or do they sometimes get another chance?

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2007 Driver Review: Terry Labonte

The high point of Terry Labonte's 2007 season was simply being asked to come out of retirement to strap in for Michael Waltrip Racing. Waltrip himself was struggling to qualify for races, let alone accumulate Nextel Cup points with his new Toyota team; desperate for answers, he called upon the 50-year-old Labonte to jump behind the wheel of the No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. Labonte wound up coming back for both road courses - two of his all-time favorite tracks - as well as the prestigious Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

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Holding a Pretty Wheel: Jeff Gordon Won AGAIN?! And Is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Going to Be Any Good? It was 10 Years Ago…

It's been an interesting summer for a race fan. The world tilted on its axis when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and practically jumped out of orbit and headed for the Sun when he announced he was going to Hendrick Motorsports; a decision that for many fans was akin to Luke Skywalker saying, "Sure, Darth-I mean Dad, I'll join the dark side. The good guys aren't really much fun." In some respects the point standings look like they did 10 years ago, with Jeff Gordon running away with the lead. The cast of characters in the rest of the top 10 has changed significantly-only Jeff Burton was even in the Nextel Cup Series then.

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Bubble Breakdown: Confused by Top-35 Fallout From Ginn, DEI Merger? One Toyota Team Knows The Answer

The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series may be midway through its season, but the battle for the Top 35 is now the most competitive it's been since the first five races of the year. Following the merger between Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., the No. 13 team, currently 35th in owner points, was eliminated; that took them out of a "locked-in" qualifying spot and gave several teams that were struggling new opportunities to be successful. When you take the No. 13 out of the equation - the team is no longer attempting every race, which no longer makes them eligible to be "locked-in" - the gap between the new 35th and 36th shrunk considerably.

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Dale Jarrett is the Golden Ticket for Owner and Manufacturer

Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) have found their debut as competitors in the Nextel Cup Series challenging, to say the least...but probably not entirely surprising. Two races into the 2007 season, the manufacturer has two drivers positioned in the coveted Top 35 in the point standings, namely Team Red Bull's Brian Vickers (34th) and MWR driver Dale Jarrett (a more secure 28th). However, after the fifth race at Bristol in early March, inclusion on the Top-35 list will be based on the current season's owner points. And at that time, the enormous value for MWR and Toyota of Dale Jarrett's much talked about defection from Robert Yates Racing at the end of 2006 will become clear for everyone to understand.

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2006 Driver Review: Terry Labonte

By stretching his fuel mileage and not making a final pit stop with his competitors, Terry Labonte took the lead in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 on lap 72 in the No. 96 DLP car. When the rest of the cars made their stops he used an 18-second advantage over Jeff Gordon to lead the next 17 laps of the event, finally getting overtaken by the Rainbow Warrior after a series of late caution flags.

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