Brotherly Love And Titles

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – It’s not been done in more than 50 years of NASCAR competition. And now history is on the verge of being made in both the Winston Cup and Busch Series divisions.

Never before have two brothers each won a major championship in NASCAR, but the 2000 season will change that at least once… and likely twice… with the Labonte and Green racing families.

Green's win in Saturday's Sam's Club 200 at North Carolina Speedway inched him closer to the 2000 Busch Series championship where he will join his older brother - and fellow Busch Series driver - David to become the first brothers to both win a major NASCAR title.

"That's pretty cool," Jeff Green said of the chance to also grab a Busch Series championship trophy like brother David, the 1994 champion. "Especially since both Bobby and I can do it this year."

Jeff Green is making reference to the brothers Labonte -- two-time Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte and his younger brother Bobby -- who look like they're not going to let the Green family have lone bragging rights for too long.

With four races left on the Winston Cup schedule, Bobby Labonte maintains a 210-point lead over Dale Earnhardt as the tour visits Rockingham for Sunday's Pop Secret 400.

"I think Bobby has a great team, and he's getting closer all the time to winning a championship," Terry Labonte said. "I would like to see Bobby win the championship because he's done a good job. And right now that team is positioned to make a run at it. That would be pretty neat to see Bobby win it."

But Bobby Labonte has won a Winston Cup championship before… as a team member on Terry's car in 1984.

"I was a mechanic when Terry won his first championship, and now getting as close as we're getting, it makes you realize that nothing is a given or handed to you," Bobby Labonte said.

So has the younger of the Labontes been asking for a little brotherly advice?

"I don't think there is any advice he can give me," Bobby said. "We have a great race team here, and with him being a former Winston Cup champion, I've seen it. Now I've got to go through it. I don't think anybody can prepare you for it as much as it is just going through it."

And going through it he is, especially with a hungry Earnhardt wanting to win a record eighth Winston Cup championship. Should Labonte have big problems in one of the four final races, 'The Intimidator' will have a shot.

On the Busch Series side of this equation, of course, is the Green family. But thanks to one of the most dominating efforts in series history, Jeff Green almost came away from Rockingham with his first Busch Series championship.

"I'm a big Bobby and Terry Labonte fan, no doubt about it," Jeff Green said. "And hopefully they are Green brothers' fans. I know they gave David a chance to drive for them in the Busch Series early in his career, so hopefully they're friends of ours too. Maybe we can work together on that, I don't know that we can do anything any different than what we were going to do, but this is a good opportunity for both of us to put the record down.

"It’s really the opportunity of a lifetime. I've been telling everybody all year that the focus of this race team is to win races and the championship will be our bonus. The closer this championship gets, the more we're getting excited about it. It just puts you in a whole different class."

And quite a lofty one at that.

"There were times when I questioned whether it was me or not," Green said of the decision to come back to the Busch Series after a struggle in Winston Cup. "It's just rejuvenated my career, being able to come to the Busch Series and do what I knew I could do all along. When I finally got with the right people, it has shown up. Maybe some of the guys that did question me, this might shut them up now."

Safe assumption. On both accounts.

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