NASCAR Winston Cup Series Drivers T. Labonte, Schrader Test Kentucky Speedway
NASCAR Winston Cup Drivers Terry Labonte (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet) and Kenny Schrader (No. 36 M&M's Pontiac) prepared their machines for the Sept. 30 Winston Cup date in Kansas by testing Kentucky Speedway's 1.5-mile tri-oval this week. Schrader tested Sept. 18 and Labonte drove the track Sept. 19 and 20.
Schrader and his MB2 Motorsports team put two cars through their paces and made plans for a strong stretch run in the Winston Cup Series. "We're just shaking down a couple different cars and looking at couple different things we wanted to try for the upcoming race in Kansas City," Schrader said. "We're looking to run better. We've had some good runs that didn't always result in good finishes. We've just got to get it (the No. 36) to where we're running better all day."
In addition to adding to its Kansas notebook, the Kellogg's Hendrick Motorsports Team prepared Labonte for his history-making 700th career Winston Cup Series start at Dover this Saturday. The start will place Labonte third in all-time series starts among active drivers. Dave Marcis heads the list with 880 and Ricky Rudd is second with 721.
"I didn't realize it until after Richmond," Labonte said of his number of Winston Cup starts. 'It's really just another number, a big number. I hated to miss even last year because of the injuries. I have been lucky.
"We hope that coming here (Kentucky) will be helpful with Kansas, that's the real reason we're running a day or two here. We seem to run the worst on tracks that are mile-and-a-half and are flat. We got some things we want to try. It's nice to be able to try some things. Often times, there isn't any time to try some things when you're at a race. What we learn here can apply everywhere."
Labonte predicted that his team's work this week will reap benefits in the near future. "I'm excited about where we're going. We've turned the corner, we've got our act together. We have a much better team now than even two months ago. All the hard work has paid off for this team and I think we can win before the end of the season. We missed a chance at Richmond - it was the best car we've had all year - and are coming up on some tracks we have won at before - Charlotte, Phoenix, Rockingham." Kentucky Speedway, a 1.5-mile tri-oval and paved quarter-mile track, hosts NASCAR, Indy Racing League, USAC and ARCA racing events each summer. More than 360,000 fans visited the speedway during the 2001 season, a 20 percent increase in attendance from its inaugural year.