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Race 2 Win’s Q&A with Bobby Labonte

Bobby Labonte
Bobby Labonte
March 11, 2007 - 2000 series champion Bobby Labonte kicks off the 2007 edition of Race 2 Win’s question and answer sessions. Labonte, driver of the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, took time to answer questions submitted by the visitors of Race 2 Win’s website.

Labonte won the, then, Winston Cup championship in 2000 when he joined his brother Terry as a champion of NASCAR’s premier series, marking the only time in history that brothers have laid claim to the crown.

2007 marks Labonte’s second season with Petty Enterprises, after making a positive impact with the team in 2006. Labonte, along with teammate Kyle Petty, look for great things from both the No. 43 and 45 cars this year.

Labonte will also pilot the No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. in 18 NASCAR Busch Series races in 2007. He competed in five Busch Series events for KHI in 2006, earning two top-10 finishes. Labonte remains the only driver to win titles in both the Busch Series and in the Cup Series.

Hi Bobby, What do you think of the new changes made by NASCAR for 2007?
Ormond Beach

“I think we’ve got a lot of changes this season. Dodge, the manufacturer we have, has a new nose and a new car with the Dodge Avenger. NASCAR’s biggest change is in the Car of Tomorrow. It’s really up to the fans to decide. They are the ones that are attending the races, sitting in the stands or watching them on TV. They are the ones that make the difference. I just want to go out there and race the best I can.”

How does it feel to be a dirt car team owner? Did you get the new website for the team up and running?
Fort Hood

“The new website is up and it’s going well. Hopefully everyone is checking it out. It’s www.bobbylabontemotorsports.com. We think we’ve got some stuff on there that will be cool for the fans.

“I’ve been pretty busy. I was able to see the team at Daytona. That was pretty cool. They have worked hard and they have had some good results. It’s been good to be a part of it.”

Are there positive signs of improvement from the Petty Dodge after testing and do you feel you will improve on last year’s performance? Do you think you can a pick up a win or two this season to cap it off?
Adrian Lobb

“We’re always looking to win races. We’re hopeful that this season we can do that. The team is working pretty hard to make sure we have a good year. Paul (crew chief Paul Andrews) and I have been working hard to make sure we have good cars. I like the direction we are going in.”

Bobby, After one year driving for Richard, Kyle and the Petty Family, is it everything you thought it would be, not only professionally but personally for you and your family?
Aaron Blake Age 8

“Aaron, that’s a good question. The Petty’s are a great family. I think everyone sees that. They are great people and it’s an honor to race the #43 Cheerios car. I think I had a pretty good idea about the family before going to work there. I live close and would see Kyle and Richard. We talked and now I’ve joined the team. It’s been good so far.”

Is there any chance that the Petty organization would expand to three or more cars to improve their chances on getting back to becoming an elite Cup team? Would you be interested in helping a young driver get a shot at a NEXTEL Cup seat for the Petty Organization? Please be complete with no canned responses! Thanks.
Robert Gardetto
South Milwaukee

“Well, that’s up to Richard and Kyle (Petty). We’re focused on getting this Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge up front. We’re going to take the right steps to make that happen. That means a lot of things. We have the people in place to make the decisions we need to be competitive.”

Bobby what is your most memorable race against Dale Earnhardt Sr. and also with Terry. I will be watching you this season. Be safe and race hard

“I won a race with Dale Sr. behind me at Bristol once. That was pretty cool. It sticks out and you remember a race like that. The race with Terry at Atlanta in 1996 is special too. I won the race and Terry won the championship. It was the last race of the season. You remember stuff like that.”

Do you think the "Car of Tomorrow" is going level the playing field and help Petty Enterprises become even more competitive?
Tom Lee

“I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s going to level the playing field. The Car of Tomorrow is something that every team has to get used too. Some teams will be better with it than others. We hope that we are ahead of the curve, but we’ll see. I think Bristol will answer a lot of questions.”

Coming over to Petty Enterprises and driving the #43 car of The King, did you feel intimidated at all?
Michelle Harris

“It’s not intimidating at all. The King is a special person. There is a ton of respect there and it’s an honor to race that car. I think it will be even more special when we plant it in victory lane.”

I read where PE will be moving to Salisbury in the next 12 to 18 months. I think this move is a great thing and will make it much easier for PE to hire and keep quality people. What are your thoughts on this move and is there any chance it could happen before the projected time table?
Brandon (Backer 43)

“It’s a move that has been talked about. It’s not that the shop we have now is the problem. We are just looking at getting a location that will help us get good people. We have a lot of heart at Petty Enterprises right now. You can’t buy that. We just want to find more of those people. Hopefully we can do that.”

A special “thank you” to Bobby Labonte and Jeff Dennison for their help in making this Q&A a possibility.


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