NASCAR Fans Go Bonkers as “Old Cup Guy” Bobby Labonte Seizes Tri-County Speedway

Published 10/09/2023, 7:31 AM EDT

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Old school’s back in session! Former Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte turned back the clock as he claimed victory at the SMART Modified Tour “The Cardinal 99” held at Tri-County Speedway on October 7th, reminding fans and racers alike that age is just a number in the world of racing. With the wind in his hair and the roar of the engines, it seemed like 2000 all over again.

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Just when the world thought the legends were fading into the rear-view mirror, Labonte showed he still had the zest and zeal to put on a clinic on the racetrack. Racing against a mixed field of seasoned competitors and young talent, he refused to let his legacy gather any dust. And remember, folks, they say wine gets better with age. Maybe it’s true for racers, too.

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Twitter was abuzz with congratulatory messages, with Kristin Labonte leading the charge. As the tweets poured in, it became apparent that Labonte’s win wasn’t just a victory for him but a trip down memory lane for die-hard NASCAR enthusiasts. Fans remarked on his unparalleled passion for racing, highlighting that leaving the Cup Series didn’t mean leaving the sport.

“We won! Woohoo! Congratulations @Bobby_Labonte,” Kristin Labonte tweeted. The fandom also boomed with congratulatory messages.


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“STILL GOT IT,” one fan wrote.

Another added, “Living the dream. I’m loving this trend of the old cup guys returning to the short tracks.”

“Third modified win and 18th top five in the last three years. Just a reminder that when a lot of guys stop driving Cup, they don’t quit racing (or being good).” third chimed in.

One NASCAR fan commented, “That’s 2000 Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte to you.”

“You can’t argue he loves to race considering how active he’s been in different series since leaving the Cup Series.” another added on.

A fan went down memory lane, writing, “Bobby Labonte in victory lane, Dale Jr almost winning Bristol three weeks ago, and Kevin Harvick having Talladega win slipping away from him by one spot ( And a DQ…) Happy New Year 2005 folks.”

“B-Lab!” someone chimed in.

[OT] Bobby Labonte wins modified race at Tri-County Speedway
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Recently, in a heart-rending twist of fate, racing legend Bobby Labonte’s dream run at the North Wilkesboro Raceway ended abruptly when his number 38 Pacematic car’s left front tire decided to bow out.

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Just 31 laps shy of the finish line, the 6th caution flag of the race waved, signaling the end of Labonte’s chase to conquer the elusive North Carolina track.


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Newman, Hirschman, and Bobby Labonte Clash at Wilkesboro

The Brushy Mountain Powersports 150 wasn’t just another race. It marked the debut of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at North Wilkesboro Raceway, a track with a history as rich and deep as the roar of the engines that grace its asphalt. With a line-up boasting nearly 40 cars vying for 32 starting spots in the 2023 NWMT season, the anticipation was electric. Believe it or not, this was the Tour’s inaugural dance on the North Wilkesboro stage.

It wasn’t just Labonte who was under the spotlight. NASCAR titans Ryan Newman and Matt Hirschman shared the track, each with their eyes on the prize. Newman, familiar with the taste of victory on the NWMT, and Hirschman, making a stellar return after a hiatus due to a broken arm sustained in a crash, brought their A-game. Hirschman’s resilience post-injury and Newman’s unyielding spirit added layers of intrigue to the race. Ever heard of a phoenix rising from the ashes? Well, the raceway had two.


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For Labonte, North Wilkesboro was the white whale. Most of his laps on this iconic track were clocked in a Cup car, but those memories dated back 30 years. In his two-decade-long career, Labonte had tried to tame North Wilkesboro eight times, with his best shot landing him in the 10th spot back in ’96. This time, he wasn’t there to reminisce; he was there to win. But as they say, the raceway giveth and the raceway taketh away.



Written by:

Brahmi Dhaytadak


One take at a time

Brahmi Dhaytadak is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. Taking heed to her fascination for stock car racing and literature, she decided early on in her career to tread the path of a Motorsport Journalist in NASCAR. Using her conversational style of writing, she entertains her fans, keeping them up to date with everything on and off court.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath




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