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, CSNBayArea.com 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.
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 www.BariumSprings.org. 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.