Former NASCAR Cup Series Champion Bobby Labonte Joins 2021 Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams Tour

(Press release from Bobby Labonte Enterprises)

NASCAR Legend to Drive No. 25 Cook Out Tour Modified

Just a year after his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, legendary NASCAR Champion driver Bobby Labonte will be chasing the checkered flag once again in the Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams Tour (S.M.A.R.T.). It will be a new challenge for Labonte, who will be driving the No. 25 Cook Out Tour Modified for the 2021 season, set to begin March 14 at Caraway Speedway near Asheboro, N.C.

Labonte’s commitment comes a year after the tour’s rebirth in 2020. Last October, he filled in for the driver of the No. 25 car at the S.M.A.R.T. race at Florence Speedway in South Carolina, went on to set a track record in qualifying, started on the pole and finished fourth. 

“The race in Florence was awesome and everyone with Team 25 is top notch,” said Labonte. “I really like the way the car is put together and the way the team operates. The experience at Florence got me thinking and talking with the team, and we decided to do this together for the 2021 season.”

Labonte first drove a modified competitively at Bowman Gray Stadium in 2019, and kept himself sharp with iRacing last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of races across the country.

“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the 25 car again, and I’m thrilled to partner with Cook Out to take on the S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour,” said Labonte. “I’ve got a great-looking car, a sponsor that I truly enjoy and a terrific team. This is just about perfect and we’re excited to go out there, race hard and have some fun along the way!”

S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour Director Chris Williams and Team 25 are looking forward to welcoming Labonte to the 10-race series, set to be held at some of the newest, and some of the most historic, venues in American motorsports.

“Bobby is doing this out of his passion for motorsports and his love for modified racing. Plus, Cook Out is a great company,” said Williams. “Bobby’s participation will be great for the series and the competition. He exudes blue collar racing, and we are here for the grassroots fan. Modifieds are the talk of the town right now and this is going to take the sport to the next level. I know Bobby’s goal is to be competitive and win, but he’s going to have a lot of fun, too.”

“We’re so excited that Bobby is going to drive the 25 car for us,” said Mike “Andretti” Smith of Team 25. “We’ve been doing this for many years, so to sit here today looking forward to a season of working with the 2000 NASCAR Cup Champion makes this something really special.”

The partnership between Labonte and Cook Out is new as well, but Cook Out cemented its spot in racing last year when the fast food hamburger chain became the title sponsor of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

“We’ve known Bobby for a long time and my father, Morris, and I have always admired his accomplishments as a race car driver,” said Jeremy Reaves, CEO of Cook Out. “Even more, we enjoy his down-to-earth style and friendship. Cook Out is honored to sponsor Bobby in the S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour and we certainly wish him nothing but the best this season.”

Additional partners include Robert Yates Racing Engines, Pro-System Brakes, Nitro Manufacturing, Earnest Performance, PSR Products and Breaking Limits. Merchandise is now available at

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  1. More good news for the Smart Tour.

  2. Excellent news for Race Fans, Better News for SMART TOUR…. Former Cup Champion…. Great Guy …..Hopefully the Southern Guys can get it going like Tri -Track…. 10 races is perfect to get it started … Build on it each year …. I will watch on ppv or speed51 or whatever ….. Good for Modifieds…

  3. Trying too revive a dead series down south during a pandemic is not a bright 💡 idea. Experts are saying the next 16 weeks will be worse than what we’ve seen so far. Then the long, slow months of recovery.

    Good luck.

  4. It was a hodge podge of events last year and this is a refocusing isn’t it?
    Events other then the North South Shootout getting 13 to 19 cars. Now 11 solid events at good tracks and Bobby Labonte. Even non modified fans are going to be loving seeing him in a car.
    I’m seeing this one expert, don’t remember his name. Saw him two or three times saying March is going to be the worst yet. Then he goes onto promoting safety saying it doesn’t have to be that way so you never know if he’s embellishing to get more compliance with regard to protocols.
    All virus infection rates are local. I see the video of a grocery store in Florida with virtually no masks evident getting everyone worked up and don’t care much at all. I know in and around Enfield, Ct mask wearing is universal and as far as I can see it helps a lot.
    Infection rate previously plus 6% now mostly 4% and under. Hospital admittances down the last 6 days and down 11 in the last 16 days. We never came close to maxing out hospital capacity that was fears post holiday. Deaths still horrible but going down slowly. Connecticut with one of the best vaccination rates and 10% of the population getting at least one shot so far.
    The modeling shows with universal masks infection rates continue to drop off fast. Rapid variant spread worse but still decreasing slowly and worst case which I’m guessing is places like that Florida grocery store where no one believes there is a pandemic………….still.
    Biden finally did what should have been done long ago by declaring war on Covid19 and focusing on it like a laser beam. Like all wars there will be setbacks. The mutations were expected and they are being studied and counter measures are ongoing. More vaccines with greater or lesser degrees of success against the variants on the immediate horizon.
    Nothings changed. Safety and getting shots in arms. Do that and life come mid to late spring including racing won’t be normal but it will be light years better then what we’re dealing with now.

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