Labonte Approaching Another Milestone
- Jun 26, 2003
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 26, 2003) – As Terry Labonte motors through his silver anniversary season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, the driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s / got milk? Chevrolet finds himself near the top of the latest Top 10 list released by the sanctioning body.
Labonte is the fourth-highest points producer since the current scoring system was instituted in 1975—behind only Darrell Waltrip, Ricky Rudd and Dale Earnhardt.
The two-time champion has amassed 93,125 points since 1978, including the 1,750 he’s racked up through the first 16 races this year. That leaves him needing just 526 points to move past Earnhardt into third place.
Labonte’s two best single-season point totals resulted in championships: 4,657 in 1996 and 4,508 in 1984. He’s currently 15th in the 2003 standings, representing his best showing this late in the season since he was 12th after 16 races in the 2000 campaign.
Of the top-10 drivers on NASCAR’s points list, seven are still active: Rudd, Labonte, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty and Sterling Marlin. Rudd could bump Waltrip from first-place by averaging 22nd or higher over the final 20 races this season. At his current pace this year, Labonte will most likely take over third in early August at Indianapolis or Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Since his NASCAR debut in 1978, Labonte has logged 761 career starts, fifth on the all-time list, and he’s eighth in career earnings. And the soft-spoken Texan is in the midst of a 2003 turnaround that has seen him post four top-10 finishes in 16 starts—matching his total during the entire 36-race schedule in 2002.
Labonte and his fellow competitors are heading into the final off-weekend of the season before embarking on a 20-race marathon that begins July 4 weekend in Daytona Beach, Fla., and ends in mid-November, some 250 miles south in Homestead, Fla.