Bobby Labonte - Biography

Birth Date: May 8, 1964

Birthplace: Corpus Christi, Texas

Resides: Trinity, N.C.

Biography

NASCAR Champion...Entrepreneur...Outdoor Enthusiast...Philanthropist...the list is long, and if you want to connect the dots between all of the above, look no further than Bobby Labonte.

A professional athlete of more than 20 years, Labonte is one of only two NASCAR drivers to win a championship in two premier divisions (Sprint Cup Series and Xfinity Series). In addition to his on-track prowess, he has displayed superior leadership skills as the founder and owner of several diverse businesses which include:

  • Bobby Labonte Racing. A championship-winning XFINITY Series and later a championship-winning Dirt Late Model organization.
  • Breaking Limits, LLC, a full-service marketing and public relations agency
  • Longhorn Chassis, a dirt late model chassis and fabrication company
  • The North Carolina Quarter Midget Association and Track
  • The Bobby Labonte Foundation

The younger brother of two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte, Bobby is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. He grew up not only watching his older brother compete, but deciding for himself that he wanted to be a winner, too. At the age of five, Labonte strapped himself into his first competitive machine, a quarter- midget, and began his path to success.

Labonte moved with his family to North Carolina in 1979. It was soon after when he was first introduced to NASCAR and the Sprint Cup Series. Labonte worked for Hagan Enterprises in 1982 as a mechanic and fabricator on the cars that his brother raced to a third-place finish for the national championship. Bobby then realized his goal of driving himself.

He raced late models throughout North Carolina and in his spare time began building his own NASCAR Xfinity Series program that later became Bobby Labonte Racing. Labonte became a winner in his home state before making the jump to the XFINITY Series with his own team to compete nationally. It was a success as he won the 1991 XFINITY Series championship. It was at the same time that Labonte was emerging as successful businessman. His led his XFINITY team to the 1994 series championship with driver David Green.

However, Labonte had more championships to win as a driver. In 1993, car owner Bill Davis offered Labonte a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup series. Quickly, Labonte impressed with a pole at Richmond and ended the year with both Top-Five and Top- 10 finishes.

The 1995 season was when Labonte finally made a move that would be very long- term, especially in terms of motorsports – he began his first of 11 seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing and with Interstate Batteries as his partner. In 2000 the team won the Sprint Cup championship after posting four wins, and along with brother Terry (1984 and 1996) became the first set of brothers to both win the Sprint Cup championship. The championship put Labonte in the field of the elite and made him a part of NASCAR lore forever. He finished his career at Joe Gibbs Racing with 21 wins, including a win in the prestigious Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway, and finished in the top 10 in championship points seven out of his 11 seasons.

Labonte made the decision late in 2005 to drive for Petty Enterprises and take the reins of the famed No. 43. In three seasons with Petty Enterprises, Labonte accumulated 13 top-10 and three top-five finishes. Labonte most recently races for JTG/Daugherty Racing, giving that team its best finish in the Daytona 500, fourth. Off the track, Labonte stays active. A passion for cycling has taken on a growing role in Labonte’s life, with the Bobby Labonte Foundation staging a fundraising ride in Randolph County, N.C., for four consecutive years beginning in 2011. The annual event has raised thousands of dollars and raises awareness for cycling safety. The Bobby Labonte Foundation has also helped countless in his community and nationally.

Labonte loves to stay outside, as he enjoys golf and hunting. Labonte has made fishing and hunting trips a regular occurrence and has appeared on several television specials with Real Tree with other NASCAR celebrities. Today, his passion for wildlife and the outdoors remains strong as does his desire to be the best in everything he does.

AWARDS:

  • Late Model Champion, 1987
  • Nationwide Most Popular Driver, 1990
  • Nationwide Champion, 1991
  • Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year Runner-Up, 1993
  • Sprint Cup Champion, 2000
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