LONG POND, Pa. — Bobby Labonte had seen enough of the downside of NASCAR racing since winning his first Winston Cup championship last year, and he finally did something about it.
"I wanted it pretty bad because it's been a while since we've been that close to the checkered flag without 15 cars passing before us," he said Sunday after winning for the first time this season at the Pennsylvania 500.
After turning the NASCAR points race into a rout late last season, Labonte hadn't been close to form this year. Now, he heads to Indianapolis for next week's Brickyard 400 trying to do a better job defending that title than he has the big one.
Actually, Labonte's biggest problem is his car. Like most of the Pontiacs, his just hasn't been very good this season.
Pontiacs won 11 races last season — including four by Labonte and six by teammate Tony Stewart — but have just three of 20 races this year.
But Labonte's Grand Prix was formidable Sunday when he won for the third time at Pocono Raceway.
TARGET GRAND PRIX: At Cicero, Ill., Kenny Brack ended his two-race slump, winning the Target Grand Prix at Chicago Motor Speedway.
GERMAN GRAND PRIX: At Hockenheim, Germany, Ralf Schumacher won a wild German Grand Prix on his home track in a Formula One race marked by a crash that involved his brother and forced a restart.
NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS: Gary Scelzi raced to his first victory of the season, beating Kenny Bernstein in the Top Fuel final of the NHRA Northwest Nationals.