From left to right: Terry Labonte, Bob Labonte, and Bobby Labonte. (ISC Archives/Getty Images)

Bob Labonte, Father Of Two Hall Of Famers, Passes

Bob Labonte, father of NASCAR Hall of Famers Terry and Bobby Labonte, died earlier this week.

Bobby Labonte confirmed the news on social media on Tuesday.

“This week, Terry and I lost our dad,” Bobby Labonte said on X. “To many of you who knew him around the garage, you know he was larger than life. To us he was our dad and also a crew chief, a mentor, our biggest fan, our motivation at times, and our hero. He and our mom dedicated their lives to our racing careers and to our family. 

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dad, although we know he is in a far better place. We thank everyone for their support during this difficult time.”

Born in Texas in 1933, the elder Labonte introduced his sons to racing at an early age and both raced quarter midgets. The elder brother, Terry, who won a par of NASCAR Cup Series championships won a quarter-midget title at age nine and both brothers were on their way to careers in the sport.

Terry Labonte made his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the 1978 Southern 500 and went on to make 890 Cup Series starts with 22 victories and titles in 1984 and 1996.

Bobby Labonte followed his brother’s footsteps, working on his cars first before moving to the cockpit himself. Bobby Labonte made his Cup Series debut at Dover (Del.) Int’l Speedway in 1991 and won 21 times in 729 starts. He was the 2000 Cup Series championship.

In addition to father and confidant, Bob Labonte fielded NASCAR Xfinity Series cars for numerous seasons, winning the series title with Bobby Labonte and David Green as drivers.

“At five years old, I was racing something until I was nine all the way to Denver, Colo., California, Huntsville, Ala., and Tulsa, Okla., from Corpus Christi, Texas,” Bobby Labonte said in the September, 2019 issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine. “That was what my dad (Bob Labonte) wanted to do. When you’re racing that young, it might not always turn out the way you want it to. We all put so much dedication into it. I didn’t know there was anything else, to be honest with you.

“Also, our parents were all about racing,” Labonte noted. “They never asked us if we wanted to play golf or get into something else. It was always about racing.”