Texas II: Tony Raines race report

Raines Salvages Top-20 Finish After Long Night At Texas Tony Raines and the DLP HDTV team fought an ill-handling race car for much of the Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, but managed to finish a respectable ...

Raines Salvages Top-20 Finish After Long Night At Texas

Tony Raines and the DLP HDTV team fought an ill-handling race car for much of the Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, but managed to finish a respectable 20th.

"We just never could get front-end grip coming off the corner," Raines said. "We fought it all night. We tried and got it a little better, but we never could get it quite right."

Raines started 40th in the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet and gained 10 spots in the first 20 laps. Thanks to some pit strategy in the early part of the race, Raines was up to 10th by lap 39, but the lack of front-end grip caught up to him and he fell back through the field during the next several laps.

A couple of long, green flag runs caused Raines to lose two laps to the leaders, but as has been the hallmark of the DLP team, they managed to salvage a decent finish out of a tough day. Raines, crew chief Brandon Thomas and the entire DLP team hung tough, dodged a few accidents and brought the car home in one piece.

"Obviously, we wanted to have a better run in front of the DLP folks with this being their home area," Raines said. "But, Brandon and the DLP guys never gave up and we fought hard. We would have liked to have finished higher, but it was still a pretty good points day for us. Some guys around us had some trouble and we kept our nose clean."

With two races remaining at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, respectively, the goal for the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet is to finish in the top-25 in owner points. Despite the 20th-place finish at Texas, the DLP team took a big step toward attaining that goal.

The No. 96 car gained two spots to rise to 23rd in Nextel Cup owner points. Raines also gained two spots and is now 28th in driver points.

"We've said the last few weeks that our goal is to finish strong and finish in the top-25 in owner points," Raines said. "We had a good points night tonight and we just need to have strong runs at Phoenix and Homestead to accomplish that goal."

-credit: hofr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Raines