NASCAR Infineon diary: Toyota's Bobby Labonte


NASCAR Infineon diary: Toyota's Bobby Labonte

June 14, 2011NASCAR PAGE NASCAR STANDINGSBOBBY LABONTE PROFILEEditor's Note: As part of the buildup to the June 24-26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Weekend at Infineon Raceway, will feature exclusive diaries from some of stock-car racing's biggest stars. This is our second entry.

Programming Note: Get set for the action on the track with Race Week, Thursday at 6 and 10 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. And don't miss the NASCAR ToyotaSave Mart 350 official preview show at 7 p.m.

Bobby Labonte
Toyota Motorsports

I really enjoy going to Sonoma every year. My family and I have planned to go out early. We will take some time to relax and enjoy the scenery. We are also going to try to fit in a baseball game and then we are thinking about heading south of San Francisco. Before making our way to the track on June 23rd, Im visiting employees at The Clorox Companys headquarters in Oakland. Clorox has been a partner of JTG Daugherty Racing for nearly 15 years. I really enjoy representing and using their brands. If you were to open every cabinet in our North Carolina home, you would find a Clorox product. They are great products to keep our house clean. Right now, my favorite thing is their disinfectant wipes. After the headquarters visit, that same day I will be signing autographs for my fans at Lucky (2355 California Blvd, Napa) from 3 to 4 p.m. Pacific. Then I will make my way to Infineon Raceway. I really do like Infineon. Its a great area and a neat track. This will be good for our team because it is an equalizer for our aero package -- the lack of aero that we have been missing out on for some reason or another this season. Aerodynamics is not as important there.
RELATED: Casey Mears' NASCAR Infineon diary
Infineon definitely is a track that tests your body and your mind. It takes everything you have in you to complete the race without getting off track -- which is a struggle for some. There are a lot of things that can happen and strategy plays a big role. Its a great skill-set type of track where youve got to have everything together and the drivers got to be doing things different than what he is used to. Going to a road course will be a nice change from the norm. Weve had our challenges at tracks where aero comes into play. So far this season, we have run 20th or 25th at some places where we expected to finish better. We have noticed areas that need improvement and we are addressing the issues to make it better. While our team is trying to find a good balance for our Camry, its just as important for each of us as individuals to balance our lives away from the track. That good balance starts at the top. For me, you have to have an understanding wife and family and it trickles down from there. Being away from your family is one of the hardest things. For example, tonight I have date night with my wife and tomorrow we have a family cookout. You take advantage of the time you have together whether its two hours here, four hours there to spend with your kids and your wife. The key is to balance all that with your job and include them in things you do. Im not the best at it, but I try to be.Also, weve had some big events recently with The Bobby Labonte Foundation (BLF) where we have enjoyed dedicating our time. Its been a busy April, May and June. There was our Share the Road Memorial Ride cycling event at the end of April that began in Archdale, N.C. Even though it was a dreary day, we had 144 cyclists show up. We raised money for the Habitat for Humanity in High Point, Archdale and Trinity N.C., and also for the Bikes Belong Foundation. Following the cycling event, we did a tornado relief drive after tornadoes hit eastern N.C. We were able to provide over 2,900 meals for people who are still in need. Its hard to fathom that because we are in the High Point, Greensboro, N.C. area and the tornadoes did not hit here. Its not something we see every day, but those people are still affected. BLF also held a golf tournament for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) a week ago and we were able to raise over 100,000. Also, last week we visited a very special place in Statesville, N.C. We went to Barium Springs Home for Children in hopes of bringing awareness to local children who struggle with a background of abuse, neglect and poverty. I took my wife with me, which I really wanted her to go. She was asking all kinds of questions like How do you foster a child, how do you do this and how do you do that? We were all moved tremendously by our visit with the kids that we met. The stories that we heard before we went there really affected us. It was a case where, Hey, this is in our backyard. I mean really in our backyard. To see some of these kids that were abandoned for whatever reason at a young age is crazy -- crazy to think that actually happened and can happen or does happen. You feel for the kids and the families and what they are going through. We enjoyed every minute of our visit and hope to bring awareness through our media outreach to the school, which faces a 1.5 million dollar deficit. For more information on how to donate or help, please visit To conclude, its been an awesome year reaching out into the community and we couldnt have done it without support from our fans, sponsors and the NASCAR community. They have helped us help people in need.

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards


Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

NEW YORK — Russell Westbrook moved past Oscar Robertson and kept right on going to the top of the NBA.

Westbrook was voted MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles during his historic season. He led the league with 31.6 points and added 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, joining Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season and breaking Robertson's single-season record of 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

"I remember growing up just being home, playing the video games and stuff with my pops, and my mom sitting there and my brother and just talking about maybe one day I could be the MVP. Obviously I was joking at the time," Westbrook said.

"But now to be standing here with this trophy next to me is a true blessing, man, and it's an unbelievable feeling, something that I can never imagine."

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

He received 69 first-place votes and 888 points from a panel of 100 media members and a fan vote to easily beat Houston's James Harden, who had 22 first-place votes and 753 points. Kawhi Leonard was third with nine first-place votes and 500 points.

Westbrook succeeded Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards. The point guard who plays with defiance on the court got choked up during an acceptance speech in which he brought some teammates onto the stage with him.

The Thunder went 33-9 when he had a triple-double, riding Westbrook's record run into the playoffs in their first season after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.

"Oscar, guys like him, Magic Johnson, those guys, obviously I wasn't able to see those guys play, but just to look back at history and see the things that they did, it's something that I looked up to as a kid," Westbrook said.

"I never thought I would be able to say that I broke Oscar Robertson's record, and that's just a true blessing."

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era, beating out Philadelphia's Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets' Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

"Obviously I'm just proud of the team and the way they responded all year. Great organization," D'Antoni said of the Rockets' 55-win season.

"This is not an individual award. This is a lot of people, a lot of hard work goes into it, and I'm the recipient of some pretty good players."

In his first season coming off the bench, Gordon set a single-season record with 206 3-pointers by a reserve. He averaged 16.2 points to help fuel the Rockets' run to the surprising No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and edged former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala of Golden State by 32 points.

Golden State's Draymond Green won the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Leonard's two-year run. Leading the league in steals from his do-everything role with the NBA champions. He had a franchise-record 10 steals in a Feb. 10 game at Memphis while recording the first triple-double in NBA history without scoring in double figures, adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world.

Two of the best moments came during segments that didn't include the NBA's six individual awards.

Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league's first black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: "You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."

Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.

Draymond Green named 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year

Draymond Green named 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year

Two days after Draymond Green said, in the wake of the Warriors winning the NBA Finals, that he no longer cared about the Defensive Player of the Year award, he got it anyway.

And he was very happy about being the first player in Warriors history to win it.

After finishing in second place in the balloting in each of the past two seasons, Green received the top honor Monday night during the NBA Awards Show from New York, beating out fellow Rudy Gobert (Jazz) and Kawhi Leonard (Spurs). Leonard topped Green in each of the past two seasons.

Green received 73 of the 100 first-place votes, totaling 434 points. Gobert received 269 points, including 16 first-place votes. Leonard received 182 votes, 11 for first place. The three finalists accounted for all 100 first-place votes.

Green posted impeccable overall statistics, leading the league in steals (2.03 per game) for the team that led the league in that category and averaging 1.39 blocks, as the Warriors also led the NBA in that category.

The 6-foot-7 forward finished third the NBA in defensive rating and second in defensive win shares, largely due to his ability as an irreplaceable force on that end of the court. Though Green starts at power forward, he spends considerable time at center -- while also playing point forward on offense.

Yet Green, smiling during his acceptance speech, also pointed out the work of his teammates, particularly Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, as the Warriors led the league is nearly every significant defensive category.

“This isn’t an individual award,” Green said. “There are five guys out there on the floor at a time. I can’t do this all by myself, so I appreciate them. With KD and Klay not making the All-Defensive team, I appreciated everything they do.”

Green earlier Monday led the media balloting for the NBA’s All-Defensive team, racking up 198 of a possible 200 points. He was voted to first team on 99 of 100 ballots yet completely omitted from one ballot.

If you want a splashy number, try this: Opponents shot 27 percent against Green when he switched a pick-and-roll and activated one-on-one defense, according to good folks at Synergy Sports Tech.

Green, who finished fourth in real plus-minus, averaged 10.2 points and 7.9 rebounds. He also led the Warriors in assists, averaging 7.0 per game.