TONY RAINES Atlanta -- A Love-Hate Relationship CORNELIUS, N.C. (Oct. 22, 2007) -- Believe it or not, Tony Raines actually likes racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. That said, you wouldn't know it from the DLP team's recent ...
Atlanta -- A Love-Hate Relationship
CORNELIUS, N.C. (Oct. 22, 2007) -- Believe it or not, Tony Raines actually likes racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. That said, you wouldn't know it from the DLP team's recent performance at Atlanta, site of this weekend's Atlanta 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event.
In his last two races at the fastest track on the circuit, Tony Raines, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet for Hall of Fame Racing, has not started higher than 27th, nor has he finished better than 34th.
So what will Raines and crew chief Brandon Thomas do about it?
Show up, work hard, and try to get the best finish possible.
NASCAR is a fickle sport where things change quickly. One minute you may be down and out, and the next minute you may be riding a wave of good fortune.
So while Raines and Co., haven't had the best fortune at Atlanta, perhaps this is the week that the relationship goes from love-hate to love-love.
TONY RAINES (Driver, No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet):
Overall thoughts heading into Atlanta:
"We've not had a ton of success, recently, at Atlanta. It's probably just a combination of several things. The last time we were there in the spring, I thought we hit on something in practice for qualifying, but then we didn't qualify all that well. The weekend started pretty good, but then slowly kind of went away. I don't know if we're just not keeping up with the track or if we made changes that I just misread. Between there and California, it'd probably be a toss-up as to which is worse for us. Atlanta has just not been good to us as a whole. I like Atlanta. I like racing there. I just don't understand why we've struggled there. It's a big question mark. But, I know Brandon and the guys are working hard and we'll see what we can do there."
Talk about the surface at Atlanta. It seems as though you can use several different racing lines throughout the race.
"The asphalt is worn out and the track is real wide, so that makes it a great race track. It's got a lot of racing room and it's got two distinct grooves. Friday (during qualifying), you're on the bottom trying to go as fast as you can. And then, on Sunday, you're running around near the top of the wall. That's just the characteristic of the track."
You had a good points day in Martinsville and the No. 96 car is now 24th in owner points. How important is it for the team to finish strong and finish in the top-25 in points?
"We just need to keep running consistent and running better each week. We were really good in practice and qualifying at Martinsville. We just got tight in the middle of the race. Finishing 14th was pretty fortunate. Those are the days you need to have, especially when the other guys around us struggled."
There are only four races remaining in the season. Are you surprised it's almost over?
"It is kind of hard to believe it's almost over. It's been a pretty up and down year, at times, for us. Part of you is kind of happy that the end is in sight. But when it's over, you kind of wish you were still racing. It's just such a long season. You're kind of ready for the break."