CORNELIUS, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006 -- Everyone has to start somewhere. Roger Staubach earned his first varsity football letter at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1962 -- just down the road from Dover International Speedway,...
CORNELIUS, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006 -- Everyone has to start somewhere. Roger Staubach earned his first varsity football letter at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1962 -- just down the road from Dover International Speedway, site of this week's Dover 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event.
Staubach, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, won the Heisman Trophy at Navy in 1963 and then won two Super Bowls in the 1970's with the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, Staubach co-owns Hall of Fame Racing with fellow Cowboy legend Troy Aikman and managing partner Bill Saunders, with Tony Raines piloting the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevy.
Raines, like Staubach 40 years earlier, got his start in the Delaware/Maryland area.
Raines' first NASCAR Nextel Cup start came at Dover in June 2002. In fact, Raines has eight Nextel Cup starts at Dover, more than any other racetrack.
Being familiar with Dover certainly doesn't hurt, considering that the 1-mile, high-banked concrete track is considered one of the fastest and toughest tracks on the circuit.
TONY RAINES (No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevy):
Overall thoughts heading into Dover:
"It's definitely a tough track, but I think it's one of my better tracks. I've had some good runs there. I enjoy it, and I enjoy Bristol. To me, Dover's kind of like a big Bristol."
You made your first NASCAR Nextel Cup Series start at Dover in 2002. What do you remember about that?
"I remember we qualified well and had a good car. We ran respectable all race, but we ended up having some trouble and had to pit under green a couple times. I've always liked the place. I've run well there in the Busch cars and done respectable in the Cup cars. Not that it's my favorite track, but I enjoy that racetrack because it's tough. It's a long race, and the drivers earn their money there."
The track can be tough on equipment, how important is taking care of your car?
"It's no more important there than anywhere else, it's just at Dover, it's just so fast coming off the corners. It's really easy to brush the wall and pancake the side of it. If you hit the front wheels you'll knock the front end alignment out of it. It's just a little tougher because there is less room for error. The track can get pretty narrow."
What is your outlook going into Dover?
"I think we'll be OK. We had a decent run last week at New Hampshire, we just had a couple of things that hurt us. We can run in the top 15 or top 20, we just need to finish there. We're testing at Kentucky on Wednesday, so I think that will help us in a lot of ways. We've got all day to try different things, so that's a plus. When we've had a chance to test, we've usually done pretty well coming out of it. Hopefully, we can have a good run."