Bobby Labonte Joins 2021 Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams Tour
NASCAR Legend to Drive No. 25 Cook Out Tour Modified
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – (February 3, 2021) – Just a year after his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, legendary NASCAR Champion driver Bobby Labonte will be chasing the checkered flag once again in the Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams Tour (S.M.A.R.T.). It will be a new challenge for Labonte, who will be driving the No. 25 Cook Out Tour Modified for the 2021 season, set to begin March 14 at Caraway Speedway near Asheboro, N.C.
Labonte’s commitment comes a year after the tour’s rebirth in 2020. Last October, he filled in for the driver of the No. 25 car at the S.M.A.R.T. race at Florence Speedway in South Carolina, went on to set a track record in qualifying, started on the pole and finished fourth.
“The race in Florence was awesome and everyone with Team 25 is top notch,” said Labonte. “I really like the way the car is put together and the way the team operates. The experience at Florence got me thinking and talking with the team, and we decided to do this together for the 2021 season.”
Labonte first drove a modified competitively at Bowman Gray Stadium in 2019, and kept himself sharp with iRacing last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of races across the country.
“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the 25 car again, and I’m thrilled to partner with Cook Out to take on the S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour,” said Labonte. “I’ve got a great-looking car, a sponsor that I truly enjoy and a terrific team. This is just about perfect and we’re excited to go out there, race hard and have some fun along the way!”
S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour Director Chris Williams and Team 25 are looking forward to welcoming Labonte to the 10-race series, set to be held at some of the newest, and some of the most historic, venues in American motorsports.
“Bobby is doing this out of his passion for motorsports and his love for modified racing. Plus, Cook Out is a great company,” said Williams. “Bobby’s participation will be great for the series and the competition. He exudes blue collar racing, and we are here for the grassroots fan. Modifieds are the talk of the town right now and this is going to take the sport to the next level. I know Bobby’s goal is to be competitive and win, but he’s going to have a lot of fun, too.”
“We’re so excited that Bobby is going to drive the 25 car for us,” said Mike “Andretti” Smith of Team 25. “We’ve been doing this for many years, so to sit here today looking forward to a season of working with the 2000 NASCAR Cup Champion makes this something really special.”
The partnership between Labonte and Cook Out is new as well, but Cook Out cemented its spot in racing last year when the fast food hamburger chain became the title sponsor of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
“We’ve known Bobby for a long time and my father, Morris, and I have always admired his accomplishments as a race car driver,” said Jeremy Reaves, CEO of Cook Out. “Even more, we enjoy his down-to-earth style and friendship. Cook Out is honored to sponsor Bobby in the S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour and we certainly wish him nothing but the best this season.”
Additional partners include Robert Yates Racing Engines, Pro-System Brakes, Nitro Manufacturing, Earnest Performance, PSR Products and Breaking Limits. Merchandise is now available at bobbylabonte.com.
About Bobby Labonte
Bobby Labonte is not only a successful NASCAR driver and NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020 inductee, he is also a successful television race analyst, businessman, and philanthropist. Labonte is in his sixth year as a race analyst and his third season on FS1’s NASCAR RACE HUB show. He currently owns Breaking Limits, a full-service marketing, public relations, sponsorship, and events agency, he’s a co-owner of Longhorn Chassis, a successful dirt late model and modified chassis and fabrication business and he leads the Bobby Labonte Foundation, which works in partnership with the local community to empower parents, families, and children to build a strong foundation for childrens’ futures.
About Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams Tour
In the fall of 1988, after a rained-out event in Myrtle Beach, S.C., a group of dedicated car owners and drivers banded together to form a club that would strive to return Modifieds to their previous state of popularity in the South. As a result of that meeting, the SOUTHERN MODIFIED AUTO RACING TEAMS (S.M.A.R.T.) was born.
Since its inception, S.M.A.R.T. has had the opportunity to provide race fans throughout the southeast with spectacular displays of raw power, fast-paced action and speed unrivaled by most asphalt racing today. Through hard work and dedication the efforts of S.M.A.R.T. have paid off.
About Cook Out
Cook Out is an American privately owned fast food restaurant chain founded in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1989 by Morris Reaves. The chain has since expanded, and now has drive-thru restaurants in over 100 cities and has grown to 289 locations throughout the South. With over half of the restaurants currently located in the Carolinas, the company also operates in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Maryland. The chain is known for fresh chargrilled hamburgers and 43 different types of shakes.