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News and Results | Point Standings | 1999 Schedule | 1999 Teams |
1998 Schedule | 1998 Archives

 

Bobby Labonte Injured in Busch Practice

Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix driver Bobby Labonte broke the tip of his right scapula in a Busch Series practice crash this morning. Labonte plans to start Sundayís TranSouth Financial 400 at Darlington and then hand over the driver reins to Matt Kenseth. Labonte is second in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings.

BOBBY LABONTE (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): ďI broke the tip off my scapula, the right shoulder blade. Now Iíve got a pair that match (he broke the left one here in 1995). There was some fluid off of turn four the lap before I crashed and I was down low and somebody was leaking fluid on the race track. I got down in it and the thing just never turned. I was thinking after the hit it was the same thing (scapula). If you canít move your arm thatís usually what it is. Having gone through it before I figured thatís what it was this time. I didnít need anything else to go along with it, and fortunately, at the hospital they confirmed that there wasnít anything else. Iím sure tomorrow Iíll hurt a lot worse than I am right now because Iíve got enough stuff in me right now probably where I donít feel much pain. I canít foresee not running at least a lap. I might run a very slow lap, but Iíve got to run one lap. Mattís going to drive it, I guess, and Iíll just run a lap Sunday. I feel a lot better than I did (after the accident). My neck feels better than I thought it would. It actually feels pretty good. The shoulder blade is the only thing thatís actually killing me right now. The front end of the car just took off and it never turned. I locked it up with my foot on the brake and it never turned and it felt like it hit as hard as Iíve hit anything in my life. Then I got beat up by Muhammad Ali the rest of the way. It was just sheer pain right there for a few minutes. Thatís the way the rules are (accumulating points). Youíve got to do it. If Iím walking, Iíve got to. Thereís no ifs, ands or buts about it. Thatís what youíve got to do. Iíll want to do more, but the first thing is that Iíve got to make one lap. After that weíll see how it goes.Ē

JIMMY MAKAR, crew chief (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): ďIt takes a little bit of wind out of our sails. The first concern was his health, and thatís first and foremost in all of our minds, even before points and everything else. He matters more to us than anything. Itís been a pretty hectic morning. We had to work real hard on trying to figure out what we were going to do. Youíve got to think worse case scenario -- what if he canít drive? Itís been a hectic morning figuring out who we were going to put in the car. We were real fortunate to get Matt to come over here. If Bobbyís able to drive that lap Sunday it would help us a bunch because right now Matt is working on a five-race deal with another sponsor. We donít want to jeopardize that. As out of it as he was and hurting as he was in the infield care center, Bobby asked me, ĎWho are you going to get?í I said, ĎIíve got to think about this.í I started naming names and he said, ĎGet Matt, get Matt. Heíd do us a good job.í

ďLabontes are tough. But you can only be so tough. When youíve got something broke and it hurts you, itís going to be tough for him. One positive thing is that weíve been through this with him before. We know what to expect with his limitations and things. Thatís better than never having been through this before. In Ď95 he got T-boned here by another car on the backstretch. He broke his scapula on the left side though that time. We had to go on to Bristol and David Green qualified fifth for us. Bobby got in the car to start the race and was going to go to the first caution flag, which at Bristol we figured would be 20 or 30 laps. It wound up going like 110 laps before we got a caution. He had to sit in the car for 110 laps and he did a great job. he told me he probably could have gone farther because once he got settled in it wasnít as bad as he thought it was.Ē

JOE GIBBS, owner (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac Grand Prix): ďWeíve got a tough situation. Itís amazing. The last time Bobby got hurt it was here, our first year with him. Weíre hoping itís not too bad. First and foremost is his health. Weíll have to see how he feels. I think our guys understand. Theyíre all experienced. Weíll have to make the best of it and work ourselves through this. This is part of what you have to do in this sport and it can happen to you. Actually, I wasnít even going to be here today. I was going to be at the drag races in Gainesville, but I got a page this morning and got the news.Ē

 

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