Labonte, who insists his 32nd "Great American Race" will be his last, was running 17th with about three laps to go in a qualifying race Thursday night and looked like he would miss the 500 for the first time since 2010.
"I told (my owner) this is my last 500, and I thought it would (stink) not to make the race," Labonte said. "Thank goodness we did. Unfortunately some other guys had problems. It's the first time I've ever had to go through that."