Monday, April 20, 2009

Raines Runs Out of Brakes in Haefele Team’s Debut at Phoenix

Tony Raines picked up the 4th last-place finish of his career in Saturday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway when his Quality Concrete Dodge suffered a brake failure after completing 56 of the race’s 312 laps.

The #73 team, owned by Barry Haefele, came together late in the 2009 offseason and, with stock car veteran Mike Garvey behind the wheel, attempted the first three NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Daytona, Fontana, and Las Vegas. When Garvey failed to qualify for these races, the team took some time off and returned at Phoenix with Tony Raines taking over as driver. Raines performed admirably in qualifying, beating five go-or-go-homers with a speed of 131.406 mph. The speed gave the Haefele team its first Sprint Cup start, and they would roll off in the 43rd and final starting spot. In the race, both car and team worked to get up to speed and Raines was lapped midway through the first green-flag run. During the first caution for Sterling Marlin’s crash, Raines pulled behind the wall with brake problems. Marlin returned to the track, but Raines did not, and he finished last as a result.

Besides being Haefele’s first last-place finish as a team owner, the race was Tony Raines’ first last-place finish since he drove Joe Auer’s #51 Marathon Oil Chevrolet in the 2004 UAW-GM Quality 500 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This season, Raines is the second-straight last-place finisher to fall out with brake problems and the third straight to have started in the 43rd spot.

Coming into the Phoenix race, the #73 had not finished last since Steve Moore’s Franklin City Music Park Pontiac lost oil pressure just three laps into the 1982 Atlanta Journal 500 at Atlanta. On the plus side, however, Raines completed the second-most laps of any last-place finisher this season, trailing only Joey Logano’s 79 laps in this year’s season-opening Daytona 500.

43) #73-Tony Raines / 56 laps / brakes
42) #66-Dave Blaney / 59 laps / brakes
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 76 laps / rear axle
40) #09-Sterling Marlin / 117 laps / crash
39) #7-Robby Gordon / 243 laps / running

1st) Dave Blaney (2)
2nd) Mike Bliss, Todd Bodine, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Joe Nemechek, Tony Raines (1)

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