CORNELIUS, N.C., Wednesday, May 31, 2006 -- Everyone has to start somewhere. For Tony Raines, his first NASCAR Nextel Cup start came at Dover International Speedway, site of this week's Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America....
CORNELIUS, N.C., Wednesday, May 31, 2006 -- Everyone has to start somewhere.
For Tony Raines, his first NASCAR Nextel Cup start came at Dover International Speedway, site of this week's Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America. In fact, Raines has seven 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.
Some drivers will tell you there is no race tougher than the 400-lap, 400-mile race.
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. Hopefully we can shake the little funk we've been in last two weeks. Hopefully, we can snap out of it and have a good run at Dover."
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 car 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."
The first third of the season is done, what are your thoughts entering the dog days of summer?
"I look forward to every race. This being my eighth race, we're just trying to get into a groove and open the door to some stuff. We're trying to get better each week. There are some good tracks coming up for us. On the 1.5-mile tracks, we've struggled a little as a team, but we're getting our fingers around it, and I think we're getting better."