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Jun 19, 2013 - 05:33 PM
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2013 Sonoma: Bobby Labonte NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 19, 2013 - 05:27 PM
2013 Sonoma: Bobby Labonte NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

Track: Sonoma Raceway
Event: Toyota/Save Mart 350
Date: Sunday, June 23
Time: 2 PM ET


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Bobby Labonte returns to the No. 47 Kingsford Toyota Camry at Sonoma Raceway and has made 20 starts at the venue. The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has two top-five and five top-10 finishes at the road course. Labonte's best finish is fourth-place and that has occurred twice (6/25/00 and 6/28/98). His average start is 18.1 and average finish is 20.1. There have been 24 races at Sonoma Raceway with 16 race winners and 15 pole winners.

Passionate about road racing: "I love Sonoma (Raceway) and there is a lot of excitement that goes on during the race," Bobby Labonte said. "Road course racing is really competitive in our sport. With all the twist and turns and elevation changes, tires give up and there's a lot of demand and pressure on the drivers to take in all the elements.

"At tracks like Michigan (International Speedway), Fontana (Auto Club Speedway), Las Vegas (Motor Speedway), you depend on aerodynamics," continued Labonte. "You pretty much throw that out at Sonoma. So much is up to the driver and making sure you don't spin the tires. I really enjoy that track and racing there."

Breath of fresh air: "Sonoma Raceway is definitely a track we enjoy more," crew chief Brian Burns said. "It's a place where you come in and pretty much race what you brought because you don't make many changes. It's more of a driver's track. It's not as mechanically challenging and aero doesn't come into play. We enjoy it because there's a lot of strategy and you can play with fuel mileage."

Clorox Headquarters Visit: "I'm looking forward to spending time on Thursday at The Clorox Company's headquarters in Oakland (California)," Labonte said. "I went out there a couple years ago and had a great time. We're going to spend the day there, have lunch and meet a lot of folks. It's always special to be able to go to your sponsor's headquarters to see the people behind the brand and thank them for their support."

Moving forward progressively: "We are looking forward to having Bobby Labonte back in the No. 47 Kingsford Toyota Camry at Sonoma Raceway this weekend," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter said. "AJ (Allmendinger) did a great job at Michigan International Speedway and identified some additional areas where we need to go to work. The additional perspective is invaluable and will definitely help us find more speed in our cars as Bobby steps back in for this week's race."

Time away from the track: "I'm going to take some time away from the track and do some things," Bobby Labonte said. "San Francisco is a neat city and I'm going there Friday with my son Tyler. We're going to the ball park to watch the San Francisco Giants play the Miami Marlins. It should be a great time."


Career Starts: 705
Wins: 21
Top-five: 115
Top-10: 201
First Start: 06/03/1991 Dover
First Pole: 09/11/1993 Richmond
First Win: 05/28/1995 Charlotte
Last Pole: 04/04/2004 Texas
Last Win: 11/16/2003 Homestead (329 races since)
Driver DOB: 05/08/1964
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Crew Chief: Brian Burns

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On Sunday, Ron and Pam Sarkozi from Fenton, Michigan along with their family and friends were awarded with Tailgater of the Week honors. They were highly visible with their row of four buses and massive observation deck nestled in the infield of Michigan International Speedway in between Turns 3 and 4.

"We like Michigan International Speedway and it's our home track," Ron Sarkozi said. "We've been coming here for 17 years and we attend the June and August races. We like to grill out when we're here. Our favorite things to grill are burgers and bratwurst and we've got BUSH'S Beans to go along with our meal today."

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