Raines 'Crazy' for Those Concrete Corners Short-Track Specialist Back in A&W Car at Martinsville Statesville, N.C. (October 19, 2010) - Tony Raines has always liked Martinsville (Va.) Speedway even though, as he says, "you can't mess...
Raines 'Crazy' for Those Concrete Corners
Short-Track Specialist Back in A&W Car at Martinsville
Statesville, N.C. (October 19, 2010) - Tony Raines has always liked Martinsville (Va.) Speedway even though, as he says, "you can't mess up anywhere." The NASCAR veteran looks to put in a precise performance when he returns to the cockpit of the No. 34 A&W All American Food Ford this weekend for the TUMS Fast Relief 500.
Sunday's race will be Raines' first at the 0.526-mile oval since 2008, but he has enjoyed some success at the track known as "the paperclip." He has seven career Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville with two top-15 finishes, and a top-10 finish in two Camping World Truck Series starts. He'll get some prep work in on Thursday when the three teams of Front Row Motorsports test at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
The Martinsville race will be a special homecoming for Jonathan Salmons, the engine tuner on the A&W Ford. The Bassett, Va., native will represent the team as a TUMS Pit Crew Grand Marshal during the speedway's pre-race ceremonies on Sunday. Salmons will be among the 43 pit-crew members nominated by their teams to collectively give the command for drivers to start their engines.
Comments from A&W All American Food Team Driver Tony Raines on Martinsville Speedway, the Top 35 and Pit Crew Grand Marshal Jonathan Salmons:
"Why do I like Martinsville? I'm not really sure. I'm crazy, I guess. It's a pretty simple track - flat and half a mile. A lot of short-track racers grow up running on tracks very similar to Martinsville. The unique part about it, obviously, is the concrete corners. And that's just a 'feel' thing. The field is usually really, really tight there, with only two-tenths (of a second) from the front to the back. So, just getting the car to roll through the center, kind of free, and being able to drive up off the corner is what you need.
"Having had a little bit of success there qualifying when I went there early in my career, it makes it a little bit easier track to tackle for me. But, like I said, it's very tight from first to last, so you can't mess up anywhere. It'll really hurt you on your time. It's challenging. You really need to get the most out of your car. It's a heavy braking track. You can't overbrake, because you'll slow down too much. And if you underbrake, you'll miss the corner. You'll slide right through it or go through the center too fast.
"It's a real finesse track. You've got to really get in there, carry as much speed as you can, but not slip the tires. And then get all the way around the corner, which is fairly simple because you just open the throttle up. But if you're too loose off, you get wheel spin and hurt your time. And if you're too tight, you'll slide your front tires and that'll hurt your time. It's a little tricky. It's not the most difficult track, but it is a tough one.
"With the penalty earlier in the year knocking the No. 38 car out of the top 35, the last four or five weeks have really gone well as far as an entire team effort working on getting that car qualified in and having it run very well in the race. All three teams from Front Row Motorsports have been working extremely well together, with everyone having the same goal in mind, which is to get that car back in the top 35.
"I think it's great that they're recognizing the guys on the teams as grand marshals for Martinsville. Like any sport, racing is a team effort. And I can tell you for sure, we definitely could not do what we do without each and every one of these guys. Jonathan (Salmons), the engine tuner, is a great guy and a hard worker and it will be cool to have him go up there and be recognized."
-source: front row motorsports