331 – Bobby Labonte: Begged, Borrowed & Stole

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Bobby Labonte joins Dale Earnhardt Jr. on this week’s episode to dive deeper into the NASCAR Hall of Famers family history, successful career and current racing endeavors.

Much of Labonte’s NASCAR career is well publicized but Dale Jr. is curious about the path that led the Corpus Christi, Texas, native to rise from the shadow of his older brother Terry Labonte to assert himself as a NASCAR champion.

Dale Jr. along with co-host Mike Davis are shocked to learn that the Labonte racing heritage isn’t rooted in Texas. Find out where their father was raised, how he started racing and what led to him coming to Texas.

Bobby’s story starts in his childhood, growing up with a tough dad. Bobby shares the lessons he learned from watching Terry skip school and face the consequences. As Terry began racing in Texas, Bobby was there to watch until the family got barred from their local track. Find out what led them to having to race elsewhere in Texas.

Around the same time, Bobby began helping out his brother Terry’s team in the shop. He worked under “Suitcase” Jake Elder and even earned a nickname. Find out what his role was and why the name was so fitting.

This eventually led him to full-time work on a Cup team where he learned a variety of skills by building and working on race cars. As he progressed as a mechanic, he was on his brothers 1984 championship team. Hear how these experiences shaped his later career and the turning point that changed everything.

Now as he began racing himself, Dale inquires about the details of his late model career and how he ascended up the ranks to eventually buying a Busch Series car with his dad. Find out how, like most guests, Robert Gee factored into the equation.

Once Labonte emerged on the national scene, Dale Jr. remembers taking notice. Bobby opens up about riding his brothers coattails to get to that point, how he dealt with the pressure and then trying to establish his own footprint in the sport.

A few years into his Cup career, opportunities with other teams emerged. Hear how he landed the Joe Gibbs Racing ride, the role Dale Jarrett played in it all, the offer he got from Robert Yates, and what Dale Sr. told Joe Gibbs.

Bobby recalls the special day at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1996 when he won the race and Terry won the championship. He talks about how everything came together that day and why something like that may never happen again.

Stories from the 1998 Daytona 500 continue to emerge this year on the Download. Hear Bobby’s perspective as the second-place finisher that day and what he thought about his chances leading into the race.

Dale Jr. and Bobby recall times racing each other, including an epic battle at Pocono in 2001. Hear their recollections of the race and if they ever had any problems with each other on the track. Plus, find out how Dale Jr. cost Bobby a shot at $1 million dollars at Talladega in 2000.

One of the greatest things Dale Jr. said he learned from Bobby was the art of the escape after a race. Hear Bobby’s best ways of getting out of the track and the time Dale Jr. dressed up as a Labonte fan after a race.

Fresh off his first start in the SMART Modified Tour, Bobby talks about why he continues to race and how he got into modified racing. Plus, hear his expectations as a driver for Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham’s Superstar Racing Experience this summer

Before Bobby joins the show, Dale talks about the rough day for JR Motorsports at Phoenix Raceway and his reaction to Josh Berry’s double bird. Plus, how a close friend is entering a truck at the Bristol dirt race and a Dirty Mo Media sponsored car is making laps around Bristol this week.

In Ask Jr. Presented by Xfinity, Dale dishes on tracks using traction compound and Martinsville removing its grass. Lastly, hear where Dale Jr. will be in the booth to call a race this weekend.

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