Terry Labonte spends most of his time at work now sitting behind a desk instead of behind a steering wheel.
And while the 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee certainly enjoyed his 37-year driving career, during which he piled up 22 wins, 27 poles and two Premier Series championships, he said during a Wednesday appearance at the Hall that he doesn’t miss his old life much these days.
“I did it for a long time. I loved the sport. I still do. I still follow it pretty close, and it’s nice to do something like this every now and then,” said Labonte, who made the last of his 890 career starts in NASCAR’s top series, third all-time, in 2014. “But there are some Sunday mornings when I wake up and say, ‘Wow. I’m glad I’m not at Pocono.’
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“When I heard about the fog and all the rain they had up there recently, that was one of those moments. Nothing against Pocono. But some of those days with weather like that, I don’t miss ’em.”
Labonte stays busy these days by helping run two businesses located near each other in Archdale, North Carolina. Most of his time is spent heading up an event and marketing company.
“We do a lot of events. On the average it’s 2,000 to 3,000 events a year that we do,” he said. “Sometimes it’s a little more than that. We actually host some events for Hendrick Motorsports. We do a lot of other things that don’t even have anything to do with NASCAR. It just depends, year to year.
“We’ve got 25 to 35 people working for us. I’ve never had a real job, so it’s kind of unusual for me to have a place to go.”
The other business actually gives him a second place to go, as he and his younger brother, Bobby, help run a racing-related venture with Terry’s son, Justin. Bobby also is a former NASCAR Premier Series champion and Justin used to run in what is now the XFINITY Series.
“We have another business down the street where we build chassis for late-model dirt cars and things like that,” the 59-year-old Labonte said. “So if I show up late at one place, I can always tell them I was at the other place — and they don’t even realize that I sleep in sometimes.”