Labonte Brings Local Flavor to Bristol
Since the Daytona 500, Bobby Labonte’s No. 47 has sported a unique look with a different sponsor weekly. During the fourth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Labonte arrives with a household brand that is headquartered not far from the half-mile high-banked concrete oval of Bristol Motor Speedway.
Labonte’s Toyota Camry will be branded Bush’s Beans for the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City. Bush Brothers & Company, which is based in Knoxville, Tenn., enters their ninth racing season with JTG Daugherty Racing.
“We use Bush’s Beans quite a bit because we cookout a lot,” Labonte said. “The Bush’s brand is an integral part of our race team. Bush Brothers & Co. is a great company with quality foods. I look forward to representing them well with the products they have. We’re aiming to do a really good job for them this weekend.”
The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes at Bristol. His best finish came in March 2003 when he finished third to victor Kurt Busch.
“I’ve had some good runs in a Cup car and I won my first NASCAR Nationwide Series race there,” Labonte said. “Bristol is just one of those places that I think all the drivers like going to. There are so many different things that can happen in an instant. I just really enjoy short tracks and Bristol is a great place for fans to come out and watch.”
Short tracks are all about survival according to Labonte.
“The biggest key, as a team, is to complete 500 laps and be on the lead lap at the end,” Labonte said. “If you are on the lead lap at the end, you’ve got a fighting chance at it.”
To be successful at Bristol or racing in general, Labonte knows every second counts.
“Everything is so critical nowadays and it seems like you have to qualify 400 miles now,” Labonte said. “Lap times are just so close. So, your pit stops have to be good and tires have to be matched up and so on. We all have to be on our game as a team.”
The 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner has been given a shot in the arm with his newfound relationship with JTG Daugherty Racing. He enters Bristol only 29 points out of first place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points standings in 15th place.
“It’s a humbling sport no doubt - - I’ve got back up on a horse and I get to ride again,” Labonte said. “This is the passion of my life and I have fire in my stomach. You work so hard for something that you don’t want to let it go. You want to make the best of it and do the right thing for everybody. If you do that, it will work out. I will cherish these moments for the rest of my career.”