This is really going to make NASCAR fans feel old. Bobby Labonte will be making his 900th career NASCAR national series start in Sunday’s AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Corpus Cristi, Texas native will be doing it on his hometrack. It’s hard to believe the blue eyed kid who jumped on the Cup scene in 1993 is making his 900th start. He finished runner-up in the rookie of the year standings that year to a young kid named Jeff Gordon.
Labonte has the distinction of being the only driver to have ever won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and the Nationwide Series title in his career. No other driver has won both (though Brad Keselowski will be looking to change that this year). He also won the IROC title in 2001. He can boast that he’s won three titles in the three series’ he took a shot at winning the overall championship.
That’s an incredible accomplishment.
Labonte’s best years came from 1997-2001. He finished no worse than seventh in the championship those five years including taking the 2000 Cup title and winning the Brickyard 400 that same season.
Labonte’s 900 starts came in all three forms of major NASCAR racing. He’s made 202 starts in the Nationwide Series, 10 in the Camping World Truck Series, and 687 in the Cup Series.
He may be an afterthought in the race on Sunday, but when the green flag drops and the No. 47 Toyota crosses the line, he will have made a historic start that only 11 other drivers have done. That’s arguably hall of fame numbers and stats. There’s not a more special track for Labonte to be making this historic start on than Texas as he can do it in his home state in front of his family and friends.
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