Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fast Facts: Bobby Labonte

credit: Getty Images for NASCAR/Chris Graythen
Bobby Labonte, driver of the No. 47 Toyota Camry for JTG Daugherty Racing, is a NASCAR veteran who was the first driver to win both Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series titles. Learn more about this Texas native in this week’s Fast Facts.


  • Robert Alan Labonte was born May 8, 1964 in Corpus Christi, Texas. The younger brother of Cup Series champ Terry Labonte, they are the only pair of brothers to win Cup Series championships.
  • Labonte began racing quarter midgets as a youth, and advanced to go-karts in Texas before moving with his family to North Carolina to move along Terry’s NASCAR career. He made his Busch Series debut (now Nationwide Series) at Martinsville Speedway in 1982, and worked as a fabricator at Hagan Racing, where Terry was the driver. Labonte returned to the Busch Series in 1985, running two races for his own team, Bobby Labonte Racing. In 1986, he won his first Busch Series pole.
  • Labonte also drove Late Models at various speedways in the late 1980s while also competing in the Busch Series for his own team. In 1987 he won the Caraway Speedway championship, followed in 1989 by the track title at North Carolina Speedway.
  • In 1990, Labonte went racing full-time in the Busch Series, winning the Most Popular Driver award and finishing fourth in points. In 1991, Labonte took home the title with two wins and 21 top 10 finishes. In 1992, he was runner-up to Joe Nemechek for the title by just three points, the second-closest points finish ever in one of NASCAR’s top three series.
  • In 1993, Labonte was hired to move up to the Cup Series by Bill Davis Racing; he continued to operate Bobby Labonte Racing with David Green behind the wheel. Labonte finished second to Jeff Gordon as Cup Series Rookie of the Year, winning a pole at Richmond and finishing 19th in points. In 1994, Green won the Busch Series title, Labonte’s second as a team owner.
  • Labonte moved to Joe Gibbs Racing in 1995, picking up his first Cup Series win that year in the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte. In 1996, Labonte made a special victory lap at Atlanta with his brother in the season finale, as he won the race while Terry won the championship. Labonte won his own Cup Series title in 2000.
  • Labonte left JGR at the end of the 2005 season, moving to Petty Enterprises from 2006 to 2008. He also raced for Hall of Fame Racing and TRG Motorsports before landing at JTG Daugherty in 2011.
  • Through the 2012 season, Labonte has 21 Cup Series wins and 26 poles; he also has 10 Nationwide Series wins and a win in the Camping World Truck Series. He also won the International Race of Champions (IROC) title in 2001.
  • Labonte and his wife, Donna, have two children: Robert and Madison.
  • Find out more about Bobby Labonte at www.bobbylabonte.com.  

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