What You Probably Missed from Bobby Labonte's SRX Win at Nashville

Photo credit: SRX
Photo credit: SRX

He may never hit the top of the Billboard Country Music charts, but Bobby Labonte is the proud owner of a new hit record in Nashville.

The NASCAR Hall of Famer is now 2-0 racing in Music City, earning his first Superstar Racing Experience win Saturday night at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville. Labonte has raced at the Fairgrounds track just one other time, in 1996 in a Busch Series event, and won that race as well.

And in typical Nashville tradition, Labonte received a special guitar to commemorate earning the victory. It will join the guitar he earned back in 1996 in his personal trophy case.

Photo credit: SRX
Photo credit: SRX

“I can’t believe I won one,” Labonte told CBS Sports. “I thought I wasn’t going to win one, that I’d finish third or fifth. But my nephew, Justin Labonte, his kid won a quarter-midget track in Salisbury (N.C.) earlier today, so I had a little pressure on me.


“I just thought I wasn’t going to win. This is so intimidating with these drivers. I got nervous, like I’m going to puke with 10 (laps) to go (for the final restart). I seen Matt Kenseth coming and I’ve seen this story before. Oh God, here he comes. It’s just so hard. It’s not easy. Maybe I made it look easy tonight, but it wasn’t easy.”

The Texas native set another record of sorts Saturday night. At 58 years old, he became the oldest winning driver in an SRX race to date, including last year’s first season and this year’s sophomore season.

“We had a great night and a lot of fun,” Labonte said.

Labonte led all 75 laps of the main event and became the fourth different winner in the first four races. Helio Castroneves won the season-opening event in Pensacola, Florida, Tony Stewart won at South Boston (Va.), and Ryan Newman won last week at Stafford, Conn.

Saturday was the fourth race of the six-race SRX season—and the last race on asphalt. The last two races will be on dirt: next Saturday at Federated Auto Parts Speedway in suburban St. Louis and the season finale in two weeks at Sharon Speedway in Ohio.

Labonte had has hands full with late race challenges from the other three top finishers, runner-up Marco Andretti and third-place Matt Kenseth on the podium, as well as Paul Tracy, who faded in the closing laps but still finished a respectable fourth.

“He shot out of a cannon right from the start of the feature, so I knew that he was a force to be reckoned with,” Andretti said of Labonte to CBS. “I think the fastest car won, for sure. Those Cup guys know just how far to pull away at the end so you can’t get to their bumper. But it was a fun one and I keep running steady.”

Championship Picture

With four races in the books and two more left to go on the next two Saturday evenings—both on dirt tracks—Andretti’s consistency has kept him in the running to potentially winning the championship.

But a win next Saturday at Federated Auto Parts Speedway in suburban St. Louis, or the season finale in two weeks at Sharon Speedway in Ohio could potentially put Andretti over the top for the series crown in the six-race championship battle.

“We’ve just got to keep being steady and maybe we’ll get it right one day,” Andretti quipped.

The son of IndyCar team owner and former champion Michael Andretti and grandson of the legendary Mario Andretti has now earned top-5 finishes in five of the last six SRX races, dating back to the last two events last season, which included his only SRX win to date at Slinger Superspeedway in suburban Milwaukee.

Points Standings after 4 Races

  1. Bobby Labonte 140

  2. Marco Andretti 137

  3. Ryan Newman 135

  4. Tony Stewart 109

  5. Greg Biffle 103

  6. Paul Tracy 88

  7. Ryan Hunter-Reay 76

  8. Tony Kanaan 71

  9. Michael Waltrip 60

  10. Helio Castroneves 45