On April 1, Bobby Labonte will be inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame and become it's 10th member.
Labonte is being recognized for his contribution to the growth of motorsports in Texas.
"When you're inducted into a hall of fame, that means your career is supposed to be over," Labonte said. "So I don't like it a whole lot right now".
"He laughed, because he's not about to turn down hall of fame honors".
He's a native of Corpus Christi, began racing in 1969, following in his brother Terry's footsteps and it's when the sibling rivalry the two share started.
This award will be special to him, since his brother terry was inducted in 2003 and it seems like he's always catching up to his brother.
In 1982, he started racing in the Nationwide Series. In 1991, he earned his first NASCAR Championship as the series champion.
Then in 1994, he won another championship in the series, only this time as a owner and to date is the only one to win it as a driver and owner.
In 2000, Labonte had a dream year driving the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac for owner Joe Gibbs, and was crowned the Sprint Cup Champion.
Labonte was the first and has been the only driver to win championships in both of NASCAR's premier series the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series.
The Labontes also have been the first set of brothers to win Sprint Cup Championships, they really are the best brothers ever in NASCAR and have the hardware to back it up.
The Labonte brothers also were inducted together into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, in 2001 and that same year were honored by Corpus Christi with a park called, Labonte Park.
In 2008, he was inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame, which his brother is also a member of and yet another bond the two share after 30 years of racing.
Labonte in Cup, has notched 21 wins, has 114 top fives, 198 top 10 finishes, won 26 poles, made 550 starts and counting, over 18 years. Along with 202 Nationwide starts and 10 Truck series races.
Labonte proved two and a half weeks ago, he still has some racing left in his tank, when he recorded his first top five since 2006.
"We had a good chance to win that race if the caution flag hadn't come out at the wrong time," Labonte said. "We were restarting eighth or ninth, with three or four laps to go, and we got to fifth. So we were coming on".
Obviously you can tell Labonte likes working again with crew chief Todd Parrott, likes his new team Hall of Fame Racing and has clicked with new sponsor Ask.com.
"Week in and week out, I know we have a chance to win," Labonte said.
It's been quite the ride, through the good and bad times. My fan hood started back in 1990 when he drove the No. 44 Slim Jim car.
He's a racer's racer, class act and deserves the recognition for what he done in his NASCAR race career.
I know we'll be see Labonte in Victory Lane again, and remember his brother Terry had a 12 year gap between titles.
So don't be surprised in the Chase era to see Labonte hoisting another Cup championship.
After all, it's not about 36 races anymore; just make the top 12 in the first 26 races and it's who runs best for 10 races that's champion.
Sources: texasmotorspeedway.com & dallasnews.com
Photo Credit: sports.yahoo.com
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