Mayfield and Labonte take Glen sick leave

Jeremy Mayfield and double champion Terry Labonte are both ruled out of this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup race at Watkins Glen due to lingering concussions

Mayfield and Labonte take Glen sick leave

Mayfield was crashed in practice for last weekend's Brickyard 400 and will be replaced by road-racing expert Tom Hubert in the Mobil 1 Ford Taurus. Team boss Mike Kranefuss has elected to keep Mayfield out of action on the Watkins Glen road course so that the Kentuckian makes a full recovery for the series' return to the ovals.

"I'd much rather be driving than not driving, believe me," said Mayfield. "But everybody seems to think this will be for the best in the long run."

Labonte is still suffering the after-effects of a concussion suffered in July's Pepsi 400 and will be replaced by Ron Hornaday, driver of Dale Earnhardt Inc's Chevrolet Monte Carlo in NASCAR's second tier Busch Series. The 42-year-old, a candidate for Busch Series rookie honours, is a former winner at the Glen in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race.

Labonte's non-start in the Brickyard 400 last weekend brought to an end a record run of 655 consecutive Winston Cup starts.

Meanwhile, in the battle for the overall Winston Cup title, Bobby Labonte hits the Glen leading defending champion Dale Jarrett by 87 points, following his win in Indianapolis last weekend. Third overall is Dale Earnhardt, who trails Labonte by 145 points.

Earnhardt's last Winston Cup pole came on the New York State road course four years ago and the seven-times champion admits that he must up his game in qualifying and the races if he is to challenge Labonte and Jarrett for the title.

Jeff Gordon goes into Sunday's race having won the last six road course races at the Glen and Sears Point - the only two "turn left and right" tracks on the schedule. Gordon and Mark Martin have both won three times at Watkins Glen.

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