20 years after he clinched a NASCAR Cup Series Championship, Bobby Labonte took a virtual look back at his storied career with some of his biggest fans and members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. At the same time, he previewed what 2021 will look like when he gets back on the track.
The Hall of Fame invited members to join Labonte and Executive Director Winston Kelley for a video chat, which started with a video montage of Labonte’s career and historic wins. It was a fitting end to an unusual NASCAR season, which endured delays, empty grandstands and unprecedented safety measures, and Labonte talked about how he’s looking forward to racing again next year.
“I’m excited about 2021. I’m going to drive some races for Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart for the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX); there are some great names in it and some preliminary tracks have been announced. Hopefully, I’ll also get to race again in the modified division at Bowman Gray Stadium, and we’re looking to get everything in order to get back to Goodwood, too.”
As Kelley guided fans through a look back at Labonte’s career over the last several decades, they discussed what racing meant to the Labonte family, and Bobby Labonte’s induction into the Hall of Fame earlier this year.
“The whole weekend of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Charlotte was awesome,” said Labonte. “Reliving all the things you did to get there. I think about all of those races, not knowing at the time that what I was doing would lead me into the Hall of Fame.”
Labonte is the first driver to have won both the NASCAR Cup championship and the Busch Series championship in both series’ current, touring form. He also won the IROC title in 2001.
Labonte won four races in 2000, the year he took the Cup championship: the early-season race at Rockingham, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, the Southern 500 at Darlington and the fall race at Charlotte. He led the point standings for 25 weeks straight after taking over at California, and never relinquished it on the way to winning the Winston Cup championship - finishing ahead of Dale Earnhardt by 265 points and completing all but nine of the 10,167 laps that season with 4 wins, 19 top five finishes, 24 top ten finishes and 3 poles.
“It was a huge deal for us to be able to win that year. I probably didn’t appreciate it in the moment as I should have because I was always looking forward to what’s next and thinking about the next race,” said Labonte. “But now, thinking about how incredible it is that my brother Terry and I both ended up in the Hall of Fame is just so special.”
Bobby Labonte PR