Team Terrier

Terry Labonte
1984 & 1996 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion

Terry car

Terry Labonte is the older brother of the 2000 Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte. There are several sets of brothers and some fathers & sons in Winston Cup. But the Labontes are the first brothers to each win a Winston Cup championship!

Terry Labonte was born 16 November 1956. He began his racing career at the age of 7. Under the direction of his Dad, Bob Labonte, he raced quarter-midgets in Texas.
In 1976 & 1977 he was the Late Model Stock Champ in Houston and San Antonio.
September 1978 brought his 1st Winston Cup start in the Billy Hagan owned #92 Stratagraph/Duck Ent. Chevy in the Southern 500 at Darlingon. He made 5 starts that year.

1979 was his Winston Cup Rookie year. Driving the #44 Stratagraph owned by Billy Hagan he finished 10th in the points. He came in 2nd to Dale Earnhardt in the Rookie of the Year battle.
At the same track as his 1st start (and almost 2 years to the day) in September 1980 driving the #44 Apache Stoves Chevy, Terry got his 1st win in the Southern 500 at Darlington.
1984 brought Terry his 1st Winston Cup championship. In 30 races he earned 2 wins, 17 top 5's and 24 top 10's. Terry continued with Billy Hagan and the #44 through the 1986 season. In 8 full seasons with this team he ran 240 races, earning 6 wins, 74 top 5's and 138 top 10's.

In 1987 Terry moved to the Jr. Johnson #11 Budweiser team. He was there through the 1989 season. He ran 87 races earning 4 wins, 33 top 5's and 51 top 10's. 1990 Terry drove the Skoal Classic #1 for Richard Jackson. In 29 races he had no wins and only 4 top 5's and 8 top 10's. So for the 1991 and 1992 seasons Terry moved back to Billy Hagan in the #94 Sonoco. For 1993, still with Billy Hagan, he was in the #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes car. These were a tough three years - in 88 races there were no wins, only 5 top 5's and 33 top 10's.
1994 brought Terry to the Rick Hendrick #5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes car. Things turned around quickly! He won 3 races with 6 top 5's and 14 top 10's!

In 1996 with 2 wins, 21 top 5's and 24 top 10's Terry beat Jeff Gordon to get his second Winston Cup Championship. He took the title in Atlanta at the NAPA 500. The same race Bobby won. The brother's victory lap is one of my favorite moments in racing!
With 12 years between titles, Terry holds the dubious distinction of having the longest time between titles.

2000 was another tough year for Terry. Following very hard crashes in July at Daytona and New Hampshire, Terry started the Pennsylvania 500 but turned the car over to Rich Bickle at the first caution. Thinking he was suffering from post-concussion syndrome, Terry missed the Brickyard 400 and Frontier at the Glen. His incredible 655 consecutive start streak came to an end. Terry returned to racing at Michigan in the Pepsi 400. It was discovered the lingering trouble from what was thought to have been a concusssion was disagnosed as an inner-ear problem. He went to a new doctor and was told he had Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. The doctor told Labonte to go out and try make himself dizzy, it never happened even with 10 hours at an amusement park riding rollercoasters.
The rest of 2000 was rather mediocre with mostly mid-pack finishes. But he managedto finish 17th in the points.

In April 2000 I was lucky enough to meet Terry. It was the Thursday before the CA 500 at the Ralph's Fest. I waited in line with some other crazy fans for about 2 1/2 hours. We got in line early so we could be at the front. Terry was so cool. He chatted, signed anything you asked him to and sat for pictures. He was great with kids and never rushed anyone who wanted to talk! He signed this card and my Tony the Tiger cap.
The card is the 1997 Press Pass card which commemorated his 1996 Winston Cup Championship.

TerryUnfortunately Terry had a LOUSY 2001. He no poles, no wins, only 3 Top 10 finishes, 1 Top 5 finish and no laps led. He used way to many provisionals. The team just couldn't seem to get it together. He broke, he crashed and he just ran awful. His 23rd place finish in the points is the worse of his career.

Terry 25 Years2002 was Terry's Silver Anniversary in racing. But there really wasn't much to celebrate. Although he did lead a couple laps this season - none was the all important last lap. No wins for a third straight season. Terry did have one more Top 10 this year and a slightly better average finish - but he finished a career low 24th.

Terry and MEApril 24rd 2003 - Thursday before the California race, Michael took me to see Terry. He was appearing at a Stater Brothers Market about an hour drive from home. He was scheduled to appear from 5 to 6. We got there are 1:30 and I was 3rd in line! We killed time talking to people in line, admiring other folks Terry stuff and telling Terry stories.

I checked the line a couple times just to see how long it was. I don't know how many people were there - but it was a lot! They said to speed the line along Terry would sign only one thing per person. FAT CHANCE!

Terry arrived about 6 minutes late cause of traffic. Michael took several pictures - but this one is the best. I had Terry sign 2 trading cards a 1997 Action Packed Terry Labonte 1996 Winston Cup Champion and a 2003 Press Pass Premium. Michael got my Terry Labonte license plate signed for me.

Then I ran to the back of the line and got in again. This time I wanted to get a Pinnacle 8x10 and a handout 8x10 signed for my cyber friend Susie in WV. She is a huge Terry fan.

A Stater Brother employee came along {poor thing} and said due to time it was real "iffy" if anybody past about 20 people ahead of me would get to see Terry. There were maybe 10 people behind me. A few people left - but most stayed. SO DID TERRY! He stayed until everyone in line got an autograph - or two, three four!

I didn't manage to say much intelligent except how happy I was to see him, what a big fan I am & good luck this weekend.

Terry and Bobby in Victory Lane2003 was SO much better for Terry. He won the pole at Richmond. He won the final Southern 500 to be held on Labor Day. With 4 Top 5 and 9 Top 10 finishes he ended up 10th in the points for 2003! It was really touch and go all the way down to the end of the last race. I was yell and cheering along with moaning and groaning the whole race as he had 10th dropped to 11th then back to 10th again. Both Bobby & Terry in the Top 10 for the season - how cool is that!

2004 turned out to be Terry's worse season since he's been in NASCAR. Midway through the year he announced the 2004 would be his last full time season. He will drive approximately 10 races in 2005 and 2006 in the #44 Kellogg's/UAW Delphi Chevy. It was pretty apparent to me that Terry was the R & D car for Hendrick's this year. At Miami-Homestead they had him skuffing tires during the race for his "Super Star" teammates. That made him finish 26th in the points while Brian Vickers scooted past into 25th and a draw from the points fund. At least he's scheduled to run the race in 2005 at California Speedway so I'll get to see him!

Terry in FedEx uniformFor 2005 Terry was scheduled to run 10 races in the #44 for Hendrick's Motorsports, then Joe Gibbs racing called on him to run some races in the #11 FedEx car to help them gain some points. Between the two cars Terry had a couple good races but suffered a lot of handling problems and parts failures.

2006 is gonna be a busy "retirement" year for Terry. In addition to the 10 races he's scheduled to run in the #44 Hendrick's car, he's also driving for the new Hall of Fame Racing team. Terry will drive the first four or five races of the season and the road courses in the #96 HOF DLP¨ HDTV Chevrolet.

Terry 2006 Terry started off the 2006 season in the #96 Hall of Fame Racing Texas Instruments DLP Products car. His job was to get this new team into the top 35 in points before turning it over to Tony Raines. He got them to 31st at the end of race five. He also drove the two road courses in the #96 finishing 3rd at Infineon Raceway. Terry also ran ten races in the #44 for Hendrick's Motorsports.

11/05/06 the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway was to have been Terry's final race. His home track celebrated his career with many tributes and Hendrick's created this beautiful car for him.

Several teams called upon Terry in 2007 to help them out and run some races for them. Terry always willing to help complied.

Terry Labonte - Winston Cup Stats {Full Seasons}
  Points Top Top  
Year Owner Starts Avg Fin Finish Wins 5's 10's Money
1978 Hagan 5 0 1 3 $20,545
1979 Hagan 31 10 th 0 2 13 $130,057
1980 Hagan 31 8 th 1 6 16 $215,889
1981 Hagan 31 4 th 0 8 17 $334,987
1982 Hagan 30 3 rd 0 17 21 $363,970
1983 Hagan 30 5 th 1 11 20 $362,790
1984 Hagan 30 1 st 2 17 24 $713,010
1985 Hagan 28 7 th 1 8 17 $694,510
1986 Hagan 29 12 th 1 5 10 $522,235
1987 Johnson 29 3 rd 1 13 22 $825,369
1988 Johnson 29 4 th 1 11 18 $950,781
1989 Johnson 29 10 th 2 9 11 $704,806
1990 Jackson 29 15 th 0 4 9 $450,230
1991 Hagan 29 18 th 0 1 7 $348,898
1992 Hagan 29 8 th 0 4 16 $600,381
1993 Hagan 30 18 h 0 0 10 $531,717
1994 Hendrick 31 7 th 3 6 14 $1,125,921
1995 Hendrick 31 6 th 3 14 17 $1,558,659
1996 Hendrick 31 8.23 1 st 2 21 24 $4,030,648
1997 Hendrick 32 12.91 6 th 1 8 20 $2,270,144
1998 Hendrick 33 16.52 9 th 1 5 15 $1,825,815
1999 Hendrick 34 20.15 12 th 1 1 7 $2,090,646
2000 Hendrick 32 19.13 17 th 0 3 6 $1,960,025
2001 Hendrick 36 24.08 23 rd 0 1 3 $2,972,900
2002 Hendrick 36 22.92 24 th 0 1 4 $3,143,990
2003 Hendrick 36 16.69 10 th 1 4 9 $3,643,690
2004 Hendrick 36 22.31 26th 0 0 6 $3,745,240
  Total 817 22 181 359 $36,137,853
Percentage 2.69% 22.15% 43.94%  

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