Raines Consistently Fast During Testing

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., -- Tony Raines didn't get a chance to compete in the 2006 Daytona 500, NASCAR's biggest, richest and most prestigious event of the year. Hall of Fame Racing, a first-year team owned by Hall of Fame quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, entered Raines in 29 races and Terry Labonte in the remaining seven including the Daytona 500. With Labonte driving the No. 96 DLP/HDTV in the Daytona 500, the team was guaranteed a starting spot with Labonte's past NASCAR champion provisional. Entering the 2007 season, the wheel of the No. 96 DLP/HDTV Chevrolet belongs completely to Raines and during this week's NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder test, has been consistently fast on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Raines was quickest on the rain-shortened first day of testing on Monday and has kept his name in the top 10 of the speed chart consistently throughout the test. In the Wednesday afternoon session, he was third fastest. "We¿re pleased," said Raines, who finished 33rd in his lone Daytona 500 start with BACE Motorsports in 2003. "We have one car in qualifying trim and one car we¿ve been drafting with. The car in qualifying trim seems to be driving better and I hope we bring that one for the race. It¿s stacking up pretty well against some of the other good cars. We¿re excited about that." Hall of Fame Racing is in the top 35 in owner¿s points and is guaranteed a starting spot in this year¿s Daytona 500. Racing in NASCAR¿s signature event is something Raines is looking forward to doing. "The Daytona 500 is obviously the biggest race of the year," Raines said. "I was down here last year every day here in the trailer and at the track with the team and the crew. I¿m looking forward to actually being able to drive. It¿s a big race and I¿m pumped up about getting to it." Raines understands that success in testing doesn¿t always equal success in the race and that there¿s plenty of work to be done for his crew, led by veteran crew chief Philippe Lopez. ¿It¿s a two-step process,¿ Raines said. ¿You got to get down here and qualify and then you got to run the (Gatorade Duel) 150s and then you got to race. It¿s a lot of work to do between now and then but I think we¿re off to a good start.¿ Fastest of the day: Mike McLaughlin, testing for Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet, was the fastest after the Wednesday morning test session at Daytona International Speedway. McLaughlin posted a lap of 184.483 mph and was followed by two-time Daytona 500 champion Sterling Marlin (184.181), Jamie McMurray (183.895), Jeff Green (183.869) and 2006 Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson (183.711). In the afternoon session where many of the teams participated in drafting sessions, Jeff Green was the fastest in the No. 66 Chevrolet with a lap of 186.722 mph. Following Green was Dale Jarrett (186.517), Tony Raines (186.451), Scott Riggs (186.420) and PJ Jones (186.397). Jarrett Now In A Toyota: Dale Jarrett has three Daytona 500 wins to his credit - one with Chevrolet (1993) and two with Ford (1996 and 2000). In the 49th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18, Jarrett will try to win his fourth Daytona 500 with his third manufacturer. After spending 12 seasons with Ford and Robert Yates Racing, Jarrett is joins Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing in 2007. ¿Obviously a new and different challenge for me starting 2007 with a new race team and definitely a new car,¿ Jarrett said. ¿But you come to a place like Daytona where the racing is close, and I think that it gives you the idea that anybody can win this race if you get yourself in the right position, regardless of how little experience a team may have. But we've had a good test so far, so I've been very much pleased and encouraged by what I've seen.¿

Blown Motor: Reed Sorenson, entering his sophomore season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series behind the wheel of the No. 41 Target Dodge, had a setback during this week¿s test session when an engine expired on the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry. ¿We blew a motor and it was a good one, too,¿ Sorenson said. ¿It was a new motor they built over the winter, and it was a lot better, but it blew up. That¿s what tests are for. They came and got it this morning and took it back to see if they could find out what happened to it and get it fixed for the Daytona 500.¿ Kerry Steps In: Dale Earnhardt Jr. departed Daytona International Speedway after Tuesday¿s test session and is letting his older brother Kerry drive his No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet. Next up: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams participating in the first wave of testing will get an addition morning session on Thursday to make up for the rain-shortened Monday session. Beginning on Friday, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will test at DIS for three days as they prepare for the season-opening Chevy Silverado HD 250 on Friday, Feb. 16. The NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will be on Saturday. The NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest events start at 5 p.m. but fans will be able to enter the NEXTEL FANZONE beginning at 9 a.m. to watch all of the exciting testing action. Admissions for the NEXTEL Cup Fan Fest dates are $15 while Busch and Craftsman Truck Series admissions are $10. Fans will be able to get a sneak peek on NASCAR teams as they prepare for Speedweeks 2007 with inquisitive fan forums with many of their favorite drivers as well as enjoying all the state-of-the-art amenities in the popular NEXTEL FANZONE. Also included in NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests will be bands, show cars, pit stop demonstrations, displays, a silent auction and passenger hot laps around the 2.5-mile tri-oval in pace cars (additional $20). Speedweeks 2007 tickets available: Tickets for Speedweeks 2007 events, including the 49th annual Daytona 500, are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by logging onto www.racetickets.com Wednesday¿s Speeds Morning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speeds from Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway: 1. 20B, Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 48.785, 184.483
2. 14X, Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet, 48.865, 184.181
3. 26A, Jamie McMurray, Ford, 48.941, 183.895
4. 66H, Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 48.948, 183.869
5. 48, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 48.990, 183.711
6. 25A, Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 49.010, 183.636
7. 20, Mike McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 49.035, 183.542
8. 29X, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 49.039, 183.527
9. 29, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 49.079, 183.378
10. 14, Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet, 49.080, 183.374
11. 1A, Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 49.109. 183.266
12. 13B, Regan Smith. Chevrolet, 49.128, 183.195
13. 96, Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 49.149, 183.117
14. 22, Dave Blaney, Toyota, 49.196, 182.942
15. 88B, Ricky Rudd, Ford, 49.203, 182.916
16. 16B, Greg Biffle, Ford, 49.215, 182.871
17. 43B, Bobby Labonte, Dodge, 49.239, 182.782
18. 13A, Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 49.260, 182.704
19. 44B, Dale Jarrett, Toyota, 49.262, 182.697
20. 8A, Kerry Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 49.355, 182.352
21. 22A, Dave Blaney, Toyota, 49.358, 182.341
22. 60A, Boris Said, Ford, 49.377, 182.271
23. 10B, Scott Riggs, Dodge, 49.379, 182.264
24. 37, Bill Elliott, Dodge, 49.394, 182.208
25. 10A, Scott Riggs, Dodge, 49.399, 182.190
26. 04A, Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 49.429, 182.079
27. 33B, Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 49.435, 182.057
28. 41, Reed Sorenson, Dodge,

49.464, 181.951
29. 26B, Jamie McMurray, Ford, 49.507, 181.792
30. 33A, Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 49.549, 181.638
31. 1B, Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 49.612, 181.408
32. 7, PJ Jones, Ford, 49.643, 181.294
33. 27, Kirk Shelmerdine, Chevrolet, 49.659, 181.236
34. 48A, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 49.703, 181.076
35. 83B, Brian Vickers, Toyota, 49.737, 180.952
36. 44C, Dale Jarrett, Toyota, 49.830, 180.614
37. 7A, PJ Jones, Ford, 49.838, 180.585
38. 9A, Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 49.846, 180.556
39. 41X, Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 49.865, 180.487
40. 9B, Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 50.040, 179.856
Afternoon NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speeds from Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway: 1. 66, Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 48.200, 186.722
2. 44C, Dale Jarrett, Toyota, 48.253, 186.517
3. 96A, Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 48.270, 186.451
4. 10A, Scott Riggs, Dodge, 48.278, 186.420
5. 7A, PJ Jones, Ford, 48.284, 186.397
6. 41, Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 48.288, 186.382
7. 14, Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet, 48.288, 186.382
8. 22, Dave Blaney, Toyota, 48.289, 186.378
9. 1B, Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 48.295, 186.355
10. 9B, Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 48.305, 186.316
11. 10B, Scott Riggs, Dodge, 48.348, 186.150
12. 88B, Ricky Rudd, Ford, 48.438, 185.805
13. 16B, Greg Biffle, Ford, 48.451, 185.755
14. 16A, Greg Biffle, Ford, 48.451, 185.755
15. 22A, Dave Blaney, Toyota, 48.452, 185.751
16. 14X, Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet, 48.452, 185.751
17. 43, Bobby Labonte, Dodge, 48.459, 185.724
18. 48, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 48.483, 185.632
19. 25B, Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 48.523, 185.479
20. 37, Bill Elliott, Dodge, 48.534, 185.437
21. 9A, Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 48.538, 185.422
22. 48A, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 48.609, 185.151
23. 83A, Brian Vickers, Toyota, 48.616, 185.124
24. 20B, Mike Mclaughlin, Chevrolet, 48.762, 184.570
25. 04, Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 48.766, 184.555
26. 44B, Dale Jarrett, Toyota, 48.810, 184.388
27. 26A, Jamie McMurray, Ford, 48.876, 184.139
28. 13B, Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 49.032, 183.554
29. 8A, Kerry Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 49.072, 183.404
30. 29A, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 49.106, 183.277
31. 66H, Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 49.108, 183.270
32. 8B, Kerry Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 49.127, 183.199
33. 1A, Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 49.154, 183.098
34. 25A, Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 49.179, 183.005
35. 13A, Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 49.247, 182.752
36. 96, Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 49.294, 182.578
37. 60A, Boris Said, Ford, 49.363, 182.323
38. 04A, Eric McClure, Chevrolet, 49.421, 182.109
39. 7, PJ Jones, Ford, 49.451, 181.998
40. 26B, Jamie McMurray, Ford, 49.468, 181.936
41. 83B, Brian Vickers, Toyota, 49.553, 181.624
42. 33B, Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 49.560, 181.598
43. 27, Kirk Shelmerdine, Chevrolet, 49.627, 181.353
44. 33A ,Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 49.634, 181.327
45. 41X, Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 49.641, 181.302

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