I'd like to introduce you to a few statistics. Who has won 21 Cup races, 10 Nationwide races, and 1 Trucks race, and 3 IROC races? If you guessed the 2000 Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte you would be correct.
Bobby Labonte is one of the few drivers to have ever won in all the top 3 Nascar series, and he has won 3 times in the IROC series. Bobby, of course, is the younger brother of 2 time Cup series champion Terry Labonte.
Bobby was born and grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, and was racing not long after he could walk. Bobby is a champion, not just on the track, but as a person.
People that have been watching the Sprint, or Nextel, or Winston Cup series for years remember his brother as a true gentleman. Bobby is pretty much the same. A true gentleman at all times, Bobby is one of the last of the old school drivers in Nascar.
For reporters, Bobby is always interesting in an interview. Bobby has a very understated sense of humor, which means that he basically will say something and then laugh at you while you struggle with what he just said. When you get it, you laugh. But there is no way to hide that though Bobby Labonte is a soft spoken driver, his wit got the best of you.
Bobby Labonte's pedigree is pure. When Bobby first started racing in Cup, his competitors were people like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliot, and Davey Allison. Of course, his own brother was racing against him as well.
Bobby Labonte has been a true gentleman in the sport, and has always respected the history of it. I hope we will always appreciate him that way.
He's not done yet though. After a lot of wins at Joe Gibbs Racing, Bobby moved on to Petty Enterprises, to take over as driver of the most famous number in all of racing, the 43, in which Richard Petty won 200 races. Bobby finished 11th in the 2008 Daytona 500. This week he starts at California, and I would advise all race fans to keep an eye on that 43 car this Sunday at Fontana, California.
A little of that Labonte and Petty magic are going to be with the 43 this weekend.