HAMPTON, Ga. (August 28, 2012) – – The AdvoCare 500 at the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway quad-oval on Sunday, September 2nd is the 25th of 36 races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule and it’s the site where Bobby Labonte scorched the competition for six of his 21 career victories.
“Atlanta has obviously been a good track for me,” Labonte said. “It’s a fun track to drive. I think Atlanta is one place that eats tires up and gives up grip, which makes it fun to drive. You have to manage your tires to a certain extent there. The lap times fall off all night. It makes for good racing for the drivers and the fans.”
Labonte, who will have Kingsford Charcoal on the hood of his No. 47 Toyota Camry this weekend, leads the list of active drivers with his six wins. The Corpus Christi, Texas-native is tied with NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Richard Petty for third on the all-time win list at Atlanta. He also holds the track record (159.904 mph, 3:07:48, 11/16/97) and is the driver that won from the deepest starting position (39th), which took place during the 2001 fall race.
In addition to multiple wins, he has 12 top-fives, 13 top-10s. 45 drivers have won a pole at Atlanta and Labonte has two to his credit. 14 races have been won from the pole and Labonte accomplished that feat on November 10, 1996. The JTG Daugherty Racing driver is coming off of a respectable 14th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway and hopes to have a good night at Atlanta.
“We were able to stay out of harm’s way and bring home a top-15 finish at Bristol,” Labonte said. “It felt good to be able to have a respectable finish because we’ve had some tough weeks lately. We’re working hard to improve for our sponsors and fans. We hope to have luck on our side at Atlanta as well.”
This season has been a learning year for JTG Daugherty Racing as the company ventured out on its own. Next season, Labonte hopes his team is contending for a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. This year four Chase spots are locked up and eight remain going into the final two regular-season races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.
Current points leader Greg Biffle, five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have locked up a spot while former champion Matt Kenseth has clinched at least a Wild Card entry. The pressure is on at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“There’s some guys locked in and then for the rest trying to get in, anything can happen between Atlanta and Richmond,” Labonte said. “They may think they would be in and then they’re out or vice versa. As an outsider looking in, I know there’s a lot of pressure on a lot of guys to be in the top-12.”
After racing his No. 47 Kingsford Charcoal Toyota this weekend under the lights, Labonte looks forward to Labor Day.
“We have Kingsford on the car this weekend and it’s a great reminder for everyone to get together with your family and grill out this Labor Day weekend as summer starts winding down,” Labonte said. “’Racing Season is Grilling Season’ and we take full advantage of grilling out any chance we can. Be safe and enjoy the Labor Day weekend.”
Live coverage from Atlanta Motor Speedway begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and PRN Radio. Sirius XM will also carry the race.