The Labonte name has long been a sentimental favorite of NASCAR fans in
Texas. Those fans will get to see two generations of Labontes in the Lone Star
State as the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series kicks off its 2007 season
with the Allstate Texas Thunder 150 on March 31 at Thunder Hill Raceway in
Kyle, Texas, just south of Austin.
Two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Terry Labonte, named one of NASCARâ€™
s 50 greatest drivers of all-time, will be the Grand Marshal â€“ while his son,
Justin, is set to compete in the race.
Terry Labonte, originally from Corpus Christi, compiled a record of 22 wins,
182 top-five and 361 top-10 finishes in 848 NEXTEL Cup races between 1978 and
Labonte won his first championship in 1984, while driving for Billy Hagan.
His second Cup Series title came in 1996 for car owner Rick Hendrick. Labonte
opted to cut back from a full schedule after 2004, choosing to run limited
events in 2005 and 2006.
In addition to NASCARâ€™s premier series, Labonte competed in 124 races in the
NASCAR Busch Series â€“ scoring 11 wins, 47 top-five and 68 top-10 finishes. He
also raced in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, scoring one win in three
starts in the inaugural year of the series. In addition, he was invited to race in
the IROC series eight years.
Justin, meanwhile, raced in 76 NASCAR Busch Series events between 1999 and
2006 â€“ registering a win in Chicago in 2004. The 26-year-old second-generation
competitor also has one start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to his
This will mark the third consecutive season for the NASCAR Grand National
Division, West Series to visit the 3/8-mile track in Kyle. It will be the first
time, however, for the event to serve as the season opener for the Westâ€™s
oldest stock car racing circuit.
Last yearâ€™s race featured a fierce back-and-forth battle between eventual
series champion Eric Holmes and Mike David. The outcome was not decided until the
final lap, when contact between the two left Davidâ€™s car spinning and Holmes
charging to the finish line.