Phoenix II: Tony Raines preview

TONY RAINES Finishing Out Strong CORNELIUS, N.C., (Nov. 8, 2006) -- With two races remaining in the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Tony Raines, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet for Hall of Fame Racing, is looking to finish out the...

TONY RAINES
Finishing Out Strong

CORNELIUS, N.C., (Nov. 8, 2006) -- With two races remaining in the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Tony Raines, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet for Hall of Fame Racing, is looking to finish out the year in the strongest way possible.

Raines has finished in the top-20 in four of the last five races, including a seventh-place finish at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Oct. 14. He plans to continue that streak heading into this weekend's Checker Auto Parts 500k at Phoenix International Raceway.

Raines has run well at Phoenix, as he finished 17th in the spring race at the 1-mile oval.

In 15 career starts at Phoenix in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition, Raines has nine top-20 finishes, including a ninth-place finish in the 1998 Truck Series event.

Hall of Fame Racing's goal at the beginning of their inaugural season was to finish in the top-25 in owner points. With two races remaining, the team is 28th in points, but just 86 markers behind the No. 38 Robert Yates Racing team which occupies the 25th spot.

TONY RAINES (Driver, No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevy):

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 good car there in the spring, but sometimes that doesn't mean anything. Short tracks have probably been better tracks for us this year. 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 you 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'd like to do a little bit like we did at Martinsville in the spring -- qualify strong, but then run a little bit better in the race. I think that'd be a good goal. I think if we could qualify top-15, that'd go a long way to helping us race in the top-15."

Texas was another busy weekend for you. Are you looking forward to a little less hectic of a weekend at Phoenix?

"It was a fun week -- a tiring week, but a fun week. It's always fun to go down to Texas and see everyone with DLP and Texas Instruments. You're kind of worn out after the weekend, but in a good way. I think we could have finished a little higher than we did, but 19th wasn't too bad considering all we went through during the weekend. We had a little accident with Mark (Martin) and then I got sick for most of Saturday and Sunday. So, we could've finished better, but considering all we went though, I'll take it."

Two races remain in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. What are your thoughts on that?

"Obviously, the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 17 (Matt Kenseth) are pretty strong right now. They've been pretty strong all season, so it's really no surprise that it's coming down to those two. Jimmie's been tough all year, and if he has two solid runs, I think he'll pull it off. But, there is still a lot of racing left, so we'll see."

-credit: hofr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Tony Raines , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hall of Fame Racing , Yates Racing