TONY RAINES From One Hometown Track (Texas) To Another (Phoenix) CORNELIUS, N.C. (Nov. 6, 2007) -- Last week Tony Raines and the DLP HDTV team finished 20th in the Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
From One Hometown Track (Texas) To Another (Phoenix)
CORNELIUS, N.C. (Nov. 6, 2007) -- Last week Tony Raines and the DLP HDTV team finished 20th in the Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race was an important one for the team as primary sponsor DLP HDTV, a division of Texas Instruments, is based in nearby Dallas. In addition, Hall of Fame Racing (HoFR) minority owners Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach and Bill Saunders all have deep Texas ties.
On Sept. 2, 2007, the Checker Auto Parts 500k Nextel Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway became rather important to Hall of Fame Racing as Phoenix residents Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel purchased a controlling interest in the team. In addition to their duties with HoFR, Moorad and Garfinkel serve as executives for the 2007 National League Western Division Champion Arizona Diamondbacks in Major League Baseball. Moorad is a general partner and chief executive officer, while Garfinkel is the chief operating officer.
So while Texas was a little busier than normal for Raines and the DLP team, the same can be expected this weekend in Phoenix. They're hoping to give the new owners something to be proud of in their "home" race.
TONY RAINES (Driver, No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet):
What are your overall thoughts heading into Phoenix?
"I like the track and the area. I've always seemed to run pretty decent there. It's a unique track, but I like it a lot. We had a pretty decent run in the spring at Phoenix and we've worked a lot on our CoT (Car of Tomorrow) program since then. We're testing at Caraway (Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.) on Wednesday, so that hopefully will help a little bit. Short tracks have probably been better tracks for us, overall. We'll just try to qualify well and see if we can't improve on that finish from the spring."
What does it take to run well at Phoenix?
"It takes a good car and being smooth and hitting your marks. You've just got to be really consistent and stay out of trouble."
How important is it to start up front at Phoenix?
"I don't know if it's any more or less important than anywhere else. I think if we could qualify in the top-15, that'd go a long way toward helping us race in the top-15."
The new majority owners of Hall of Fame Racing, Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel, are residents of Phoenix. How important is it for the team to run well at Phoenix?
"Well, you always want to run well everywhere you go, but there are certain places you have extra motivation to run well, like Daytona, Indianapolis, Charlotte and Texas. We'd like to run well in Phoenix because those guys live out there and probably have a lot of family and friends coming out to the race. It's a lot like when we race at Charlotte. You've got a lot of neighbors and friends at the race track, so you want to perform well in front of them. We're going to do our best to put on a good show."
The No. 96 car is 23rd in owner points with two races remaining. How important is it to finish in the top-25?
"It's real important for myself and the team. Phoenix is pretty important to the mix because, if we have a good run, we'll have a pretty good cushion going into the final race at Homestead. We've said the last few weeks that we'd like to finish in the top-25 and we've got a real shot at it."