Loudon II: Tony Raines preview

TONY RAINES, DLP HDTV TEAM, LOOKIN' TO IMPROVE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE CORNELIUS, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006 -- The last month has not been kind to Tony Raines and the DLP HDTV team. They struggled in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races at ...

TONY RAINES, DLP HDTV TEAM, LOOKIN' TO IMPROVE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

CORNELIUS, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006 -- The last month has not been kind to Tony Raines and the DLP HDTV team.

They struggled in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway (finished 32nd) and California Speedway (finished 37th) and then suffered some bad luck last week at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. A cut tire and a burned spark plug wire caused the team to finish 39th, 10 laps down.

The good news that came out of Richmond is that despite the two setbacks, Raines' car was quite fast in the last half of the race -- as fast or faster than many of the top-10 cars.

TONY RAINES (No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevy):

The DLP HDTV team qualified 15th and finished 22nd in the first race at New Hampshire. Can you build on that?

"It was OK. We were decent on Friday and Saturday and we made a change on Sunday that wasn't necessarily in the right direction. I think we took away from the first race that track position is really important. Hopefully, we can qualify OK and stay up front and stay out of trouble. That's the hot ticket there."

How frustrating was Richmond, knowing that you had a pretty good car at the end, but were 10 laps down?

"It was as frustrating as California and Michigan were. You actually don't feel as bad because it's out of your control. A flat tire, a burned plug wire -- that's just bad racing luck. Weird stuff. You're going to have that happen to you once in awhile. It's depressing because you take a hit in the points, but you just keep digging and keep working. You try to go to the next race and run better."

What do you think about New Hampshire?

"It's a nice place to visit. The track's alright. It's a little like Martinsville, it's a little tough to race on. It's got long straightaways and tight corners. They've done a lot to the groove and the surface over the last couple of years, so they've certainly done everything they could to help promote racing. In that case, it's a good thing. We had a pretty good qualifying run at Martinsville and a pretty good race car during the race, so I'm hoping some of that will translate and we'll have a pretty good package under the car and it will corner well in the tight corners. We have to have good brakes because that track is capable of being hard on the brakes, it's got long straightaways. The Gibbs motors will run pretty good there, so we'll see how we pan out."

What does it take to have a good lap at New Hampshire?

"You want to get into the corner at a good clip, but you want to get a real smooth entry with the car, where it's rolling real free through the center without flipping the tires in the back or starting to shove the nose. Grip there is really key in getting through the center of the turn and onto the straight. You want to be able to pick up the gas early and smooth and have the car really pick up a lot of speed without scrubbing either end. That seems to be the key to going fast. Getting through the center freely is worth a lot."

Do you like the New Hampshire area?

"Yeah, it's nice. I like that type of area. Lots of woods and good, hard-working people. I certainly enjoy going up there. Hopefully we'll have a good weekend."

-credit: hofr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Raines