Dover: Tony Raines race report

Raines, DLP HDTV Team Finish 26th at Dover DOVER, Del., (June 4, 2006) - For Tony Raines and the No. 96 DLP HDTV team, the "Monster Mile" at Dover International Speedway lived up to its name in Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400 NASCAR NEXTEL...

Raines, DLP HDTV Team Finish 26th at Dover

DOVER, Del., (June 4, 2006) - For Tony Raines and the No. 96 DLP HDTV team, the "Monster Mile" at Dover International Speedway lived up to its name in Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. Raines finished the 400-mile race in 26th, two-laps down to race winner Matt Kenseth.

After starting the race in 32nd, Raines immediately began complaining of an extremely loose machine. "This car is slicker than anything I've driven in a long time," said Raines. "I can't keep up with it. It keeps traveling away from me."

On lap 37 while running side-by-side with the No. 32 car of Travis Kvapil, Raines could only hold on for so long. The DLP HDTV Chevy spun. Rained managed to keep it off the wall, but the end result was the first caution of the day.

Crew chief Phillipe Lopez ordered four tires and a track bar adjustment to tighten up the car, but Raines would restart the race 41st, one lap down.

However, a long green flag run was just what the doctor ordered.

With the restart on lap 41, the No. 96 machine still seemed to be too loose for Raines' liking. But by the middle of the long run, the DLP HDTV team began posting lap times as quick as the leader. The only problem was that the team was playing catch-up. Being a lap down early at any track is hard to overcome, but especially so at Dover where the race leaders set a grueling pace.

The long green flag run came to an end on lap 116 for debris on the race track. Raines pitted for four tires and fuel, but shortly thereafter, Lopez brought him back onto pit road out of concern for a right front tire rub. The over-the-wall team changed two tires and raised the hood to determine where the tire rub was happening, then sent the No. 96 out to rejoin the field. Raines would remain one lap down and in no position to get his lap back.

During one green flag run of 145 laps, Kenseth lapped car after car, leaving only 12 drivers on the lead lap by the race's halfway point. Even though Raines kept improving, the consistent lap times of Kenseth and his pursuers managed to put the No. 96 down a second lap, something that could not be overcome.

Consistent pit stops by the DLP HDTV crew kept Raines' Chevy in top condition on the track, and by the end of the 400-lap affair, the No. 96 machine crossed the finish line in 26th, the highest it had been all day.

"We just kept playing with the car all day," said Raines. "It was good on a long run, but we just started too far behind the curve. I'm really looking for a top-15. We'll just go to Pocono next week and do the best we can."

Kenseth's win was his 12th career Nextel Cup victory and his second of the season. Jamie McMurray finished second, while Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch secured the rest of the top-five. Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr., comprised the rest of the top-10.

The No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevy gained one position in Nextel Cup owner points, moving from 31st to 30th. The No. 96 car has 1,147 points and is eight points behind the No. 01 car (Joe Nemechek) and 16 points ahead of the No. 21 car (Ken Schrader). The No. 96 car is 227 points ahead of the 36th-place car (No. 4 - Scott Wimmer).

The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the June 11 Pocono 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race begins at 2:10 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

-hofr-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Ken Schrader , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Tony Raines , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Scott Wimmer , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin