NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Labonte Reveals Recent Kidney Cancer Scare


During his long NASCAR career, Bobby Labonte was known for his on-track abilities and his off-track reluctance to talk about it. Or a lot of anything else, for that matter.

But the Hall of Famer recently opened up on a very personal and life-threatening situation: kidney cancer.

In an interview on the NASCAR Race Hub program, Labonte, 58, detailed a health scare that began in 2019, when sluggish health led to a visit to the doctor which in turn led to the discovery a small spot on a kidney.

“So I go to my local doctor, and he said, ‘I found this little spot on your kidney. We really have to keep an eye on that,” Labonte said.

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They kept an eye on it, and two years later it had tripled in size. The lump was surgically removed last October, and a few weeks later, Labonte said, he got the good or bad news phone call from the surgeon.

“He said, ‘We have everything, everything looks great. He said, ‘But it was cancer.’ And he said, ‘It was very aggressive.'”

Labonte said he was struck by a range of emotions, particularly learning that a third of patients with his type of kidney cancer do not survive. He’s been lucky enough to catch up and go public – despite his longtime preference for keeping things indoors – to hopefully help others take early action on health issues. .

“Usually I’m not one to ‘share’ and you won’t know much about me,” he said. “But it didn’t take long for me to figure out if we could help one person, just help one person, man. …. There’s a ton of cancers that can be treated for sure and this one was such a you catch it early, like we did, we were lucky to be able to take care of it.”

Labonte drove full time in NASCAR’s Cup Series from 1993 to 2013. He won the 2000 Cup Series championship and finished his career with 21 wins. Prior to his Cup career, he won the 1991 Busch Series Championship, now known as the Xfinity Series.

He returned to racing recently, competing in modified cars last year, and this summer took part in the made-for-TV Superstar racing experience, where he returned to Victory Lane with a victory in Nashville.


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