With the second longest active race streak in NASCAR (behind Jeff Gordon with 705 consecutive races), the 704 consecutive race streak will end as Bobby Labonte is not racing this weekend at Kentucky. This will also be the first race in 35 YEARS (1978) that there will not be a Labonte racing in Sprint Cup.
Bobby Labonte made his first career start in the 1991 Budweiser 500 at Dover. Driving a number 14 Oldsmobile with SlimJim being the sponsor, and he finished in 34th out of 35 cars. Bobby also won the Nationwide Championship in 1991 driving for his own team. A few years later in 1995, Bobby Labonte got his first win in the Sprint Cup Series in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. This was only the start of Bobby Labonte’s NASCAR career.
After driving the 1993 and 1994 seasons in Sprint Cup for Bill Davis Racing he replaced Dale Jarrett in the number 18 Interstate Batteries car for Joe Gibbs Racing. It is here where Labonte won his 21 races in Sprint Cup. In the 2000 season, he won four races and the Winston Cup Championship (Now Sprint Cup). Bobby Labonte became the first person in NASCAR to win both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Championship. Although Bobby won neither championships the next year, he was the 2001 IROC champion.
After the 2005 season, Labonte asked if he could leave Joe Gibbs Racing and did and started driving for Richard Petty in the famous 43 car. After the 2008 season he left RPM and drove for numerous teams. He drove for TRG Motorsports, HOF racing, Robby Gordon Motorsports, Phoenix Racing and JTG Daughtery Racing. Although his performance was not the best he still never missed a race.
Labonte has become a fan favorite among NASCAR fans and it is very unfortunate that he will not be racing this week in Kentucky but Labonte will always be known as a great driver and the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.