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'13' Might Be Labonte's Lucky Number

  • Aug 22, 2003

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 22, 2003) – When Terry Labonte took the checkered flag with a fifth-place finish last month at Pocono Raceway, Kellogg’s / got milk? Racing celebrated another strong effort.

But that performance did much more than lift the two-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion three positions in the current driver standings. It moved Labonte into third place on one of NASCAR’s elite all-time lists, yet another milestone as he motors through his 25th anniversary season.

The 155 points Labonte earned that day in the Pennsylvania 500 moved him past seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt on NASCAR’s list of the 10 top point producers since the current scoring system was instituted in 1975. In 18 years, Labonte has amassed exactly 94,000 points and now trails only Darrell Waltrip and Ricky Rudd.

Labonte’s two best single-season point totals resulted in championships: 4,657 in 1996 and 4,508 in 1984. He’s currently 13th in the 2003 standings, representing his highest placement this late in the season since being tied for eighth place after 23 races in 1999.

After making his NASCAR debut in 1978, Labonte has logged 768 career starts, fifth on the all-time list, and he’s eighth in career earnings. His 2003 turnaround has seen him post six top-10 finishes in 23 starts—two more than he had during the entire 2002 campaign.

Labonte begins the second half of the short-track season this weekend in Bristol, Tenn., where he has two of his 21 career wins and four second-place finishes.

Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 will be his 50th career start on Bristol’s lightning-fast half-mile oval and his 350th race with Kellogg’s sponsorship.

LUCKY 13

Labonte will tell you he’s not a superstitious person, so he should not be concerned about an odd convergence of the number “13” entering this weekend’s race at Bristol.

The Corpus Christi, Texas, native finished 13th in last weekend’s Michigan 400, he is now 13th in the point standings and there are 13 races remaining on this year’s schedule.

Considering Labonte’s track record at Bristol, a pole or a win—or both—would not be out of the question.

By the way, his last pole position was at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway earlier this year—exactly 13 races ago.

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