Labonte takes title as Stewart wins at Homestead

NASCAR has a new Winston Cup champion: Texan Bobby Labonte clinched his first title in a race at Homestead-Miami Speedway that was won by his Joe Gibbs Racing team mate Tony Stewart

Labonte takes title as Stewart wins at Homestead

Unlike the Presidential election fiasco in Florida, this race had one clear winner. Stewart led most laps to grab his ninth win of his career. He took the chequered flag ahead of Jeremy Mayfield, Mark Martin, Labonte, Jimmy Spencer and Ricky Rudd.

Stewart won the inaugural race here last year, but having done it once before didn't make this win any easier.

"We got really hot there, and I started getting sick for a while" said Stewart. "The guys dropped about a pound and a half of ice (on me). I just kept checking on Bobby all day and where he was at. We did everything we could do to help out today, but he did it himself. He's a great champion."

Labonte started third and needed to finish fifth or higher to take the title, so his fourth place means that the pressure is off the Texan for the final race in Atlanta next week.

"Well, I guess we can talk about it now, right?" joked Labonte after hoisting the trophy. "I'll tell you what...yesterday I told a little white lie on TV. I told everyone we were running real good and we weren't. We were running real bad. Now we can go back to racing at Atlanta."

Bobby follows brother and two-time champ Terry into the history books.

The day was also especially sweet for team owner Joe Gibbs, a National Football League coach who alone can boast three Super Bowl wins, a place in the NFL Hall of Fame and now a NASCAR title.

"I spent nine long years here, but I wouldn't trade the Super Bowls for anything," said a jubilant Gibbs. "I don't know what to say about it, but I'm thrilled. I'm not sure you can draw a comparison. They're both team sports, you win with people. I probably had a lot less to do with this."

1 20 Tony Stewart Home Depot Pont 267 10 185
2 12 Jeremy Mayfield Mobil 1 Ford 267 5 175
3 6 Mark Martin Valvoline Ford 267 165
4 18 Bobby Labonte Interstate Pont 267 5 165
5 26 Jimmy Spencer Big Kmart Ford 267 5 160
6 28 Ricky Rudd Texaco/Havoline Ford 267 5 155
7 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chev 266 146
8 1 Steve Park Pennzoil Chev 266 5 147
9 93 Dave Blaney Amoco Pont 265 138
10 19 Casey Atwood Motorola Ford 265 134
11 99 Jeff Burton CITGO Ford 265 130
12 25 Jerry Nadeau Michael Holigan Chev 265 127
13 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr Budweiser Chev 265 124
14 11 Brett Bodine Ralph's Ford 265 121
15 2 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite Ford 265 118
16 77 Robert Pressley Jasper Ford 265 115
17 88 Dale Jarrett Quality Care Ford 265 112
18 33 Joe Nemechek Oakwood Homes Chev 264 109
19 97 Kurt Busch John Deere Ford 264 106
20 3 Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench Chev 264 103
21 17 Matt Kenseth DeWalt Tools Ford 264 100
22 94 Bill Elliott McDonald's Ford 264 97
23 31 Mike Skinner Lowe's Chev 264 94
24 55 Kenny Wallace Square D Chev 264 91
25 5 Terry Labonte Kellogg's Chev 264 88
26 40 Sterling Marlin Coors Light Chev 264 85
27 16 Kevin LePage Ford 264 82
28 21 Elliott Sadler CITGO Ford 263 5 84
29 14 Rick Mast Conseco Pont 263 76
30 10 Johnny Benson Aaron's Pont 262 73
31 4 Bobby Hamilton Kodak Film Chev 262 70
32 36 Ken Schrader M&M's Pont 261 67
33 57 Bobby Hamilton Jr Hamilton Racing Chev 261 64
34 7 Michael Waltrip NationsRent Chev 261 5 66
35 75 Wally Dallenbach RotoZip/TBS Ford 260 58
36 66 Darrell Waltrip Big Kmart Ford 94 55
37 43 John Andretti Cheerios Pont 78 52
38 9 Stacy Compton Kodiak Ford 58 49
39 22 Ward Burton Caterpillar Pont 31 46
40 27 Mike Bliss Viagra Pont 31 43
41 98 Geoffrey Bodine PowerTeam Ford 31 40
42 96 Andy Houston McDonald's Ford 23 37
43 32 Scott Pruett Tide Ford 23 34

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