Racing in Charlotte -- It's Not Such a Bad Thing CORNELIUS, N.C. (Oct. 10, 2007) -- If a person is affiliated with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series this weekend, there is a pretty good chance that person is pretty darn excited about this weekend's...
Racing in Charlotte -- It's Not Such a Bad Thing
CORNELIUS, N.C. (Oct. 10, 2007) -- If a person is affiliated with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series this weekend, there is a pretty good chance that person is pretty darn excited about this weekend's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
Not so much perhaps because it's race 31 of 36 on the season, but more so that the race is taking place at home, which means everyone can sleep in his or her own bed and not have to get on an airplane.
For Tony Raines and the DLP HDTV Team, they're excited to head to Charlotte for the simple fact that they've scored consecutive top-15 finishes on the 1.5-mile oval.
Last fall, Raines led three times for 28 laps, both career highs, en route to a seventh-place finish in the Bank of America 500. He came back this past spring to finish a solid 14th in the Coca-Cola 600, despite spinning early in the event.
Raines, crew chief Brandon Thomas and the rest of Hall of Fame Racing are hoping to improve on their recent races at Charlotte and perhaps crack the top-five -- something that would make this "home" race just a little sweeter.
TONY RAINES (Driver, No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet):
Overall thoughts heading into Charlotte:
"We've run decent there the last two times. We've struggled on the 1.5-mile tracks, at times, but we've done well at Charlotte. Obviously, we had a good run last fall and we'd like to repeat that."
How does this race differ from the Coca-Cola 600?
"Well, the obvious thing is the shorter distance, which changes the attrition rate and changes your strategy just a little bit. Still, it's 500 miles, which is a pretty long race. The biggest thing will be the temperature. In the spring, the race starts at 5 p.m., and the sun is still out and it's pretty hot. Then, as the sun goes down, the temperature cools and changes the track. It seems like you're constantly chasing the changing track conditions because they change so much from 5-10 p.m. In the fall, it's a little different because the race starts after the sun sets, so you're never really racing in the sun a whole lot. That said, it sounds like it could get a little cold on Saturday night, so it will be interesting to see how that affects the handling of the car."
How much do you enjoy the Charlotte race being on Saturday night, so you can have a day off on Sunday?
"It's always fun to race on Saturday night. And, to have Sunday off, maybe we'll have a chance to relax and goof off a little bit Sunday afternoon. That'd be fun. It should be an enjoyable weekend."
The DLP Team tested at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., on Tuesday in preparation for Martinsville. How did that test go?
"It went pretty well. We learned a lot. We had a good car in the spring and we were running in the top-10 until we got taken out. I think we learned a few things that will translate to Martinsville and I'm looking for a good run there."