Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tony Raines

Floyd Anthony Raines was born on April 14, 1964 in Glasgow, Montana. In high school he played football, basketball, and baseball all while helping out local stock car teams.

Before Tony even started thinking about racing as a career he got a college degree in aviation from the Southwestern Michigan College in 1984, and he started racing as a hobby after he got out.

In 1988, Raines competed in five American Speed Association (ASA) races with some success; he then realized this could become a career.

He competed in the rookie year battle in 1989 in the ASA.

In 1990, Raines moved to NASCAR's All Pro Series, where he won Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in the final points standings.

Tony returned to ASA in 1991 for a new team formed by Ernie Roselli all the way until 1995; in 1995 he had moved to join crew chief Howie Lettow and Baker Motorsports.

He won the 1996 championship in the ASA series.

Tony moved up to the new NASCAR Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series which had only been in existence for one year in 1997. Johnny Benson, one of Tony’s competitors in the ASA, recommended Raines to owner Kurt Roehrig and he made his first start at Tucson, Arizona at the Tucson Speedway, and in the Truck Series he won his first NASCAR sanctioned race at the I-70 Speedway in just his third career start.

In 1998 he followed up his very successful rookie year and won 2 races and finished 5th in points in only his second year in the Truck series.

Raines moved up to the Busch (Nationwide) Series in 1999, with the #74 BACE Motorsports team. Raines raced 31 out of 32 races that year, without a primary sponsor; Raines had a best finish of fourth and finished 12th in points, which led to him earning the Rookie of the Year honors. He also made one start in the Truck Series at The Milwaukee Mile for Gerry Gunderman in the #68 truck; he started 22nd and finished 19th.

In 2000, Raines moved to BACE Motorsports's #33 Bayer Chevrolet full-time in the Busch (Nationwide) series. He had a career-best second-place finish at South Boston Speedway, but had no other top-tens that year; he fell to fifteenth in the final point’s standings in the Busch (Nationwide) series.

2001 was the year he had his first pole in the Busch (Nationwide) series driving the #33 Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Chevy; he also had a career high 13 top ten finishes, he finished 6th in the points.

In 2002, he drove a full Busch (Nationwide) Series schedule for BACE, and at Dover International Speedway in Delaware, he made his NEXTEL (Sprint) Cup Series debut with BACE. He started 17th and finished 31st in the #73 Staff America Chevy. He made 6 more races that year.

BACE Motorsports and Tony Raines moved to the Winston (Sprint) Cup series full-time in 2003, competing for the NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors. Despite running without major sponsorship, Raines made 35 out of the 36 races, finished 33rd in the championship standings, and third in the Rookie of the Year race just behind Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle. In the Busch (Nationwide) series, Raines had another second-place finish and three consecutive eighth-place runs, allowing him to finish 39th in points even though his season was shortened.

BACE closed its Cup team in 2004 due to the lack of sponsorship, and focused back on the Busch (Nationwide) Series. BACE hired Damon Lusk to drive there #74 Outdoor Channel Chevrolet in the Busch (Nationwide) series, and after four races Raines returned to the team in favor of Lusk, and finished sixth in his first race at Bristol. He ran fifteen races for BACE in the Busch (Nationwide) series, and 3 other for various teams. He returned to the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck series for one race at Atlanta, finishing seventeenth in the #08 Chevrolet for Green Light Racing. In the NEXTEL (Sprint) cup series he ran 6 races for, Phoenix racing, Bill Davis Racing, and Competitive Edge Motorsports, with a best finish of 28th.

In 2005 he made six NEXTEL (Sprint) cup series races with Front Row Motorsports, and R&J Racing. Raines drove part-time for Kevin Harvick Incorporated in the #33 Yard Man/Outdoor Channel Chevrolet in the Busch (Nationwide) Series; he had nine top-tens in 23 starts. At the end of the season, it was announced that he would share the #96 Texas Instruments/DLP HDTV Chevy with Terry Labonte with the brand new team, Hall of Fame Racing.

In the 29 races he drove in 2006 in the NEXTEL (Sprint) cup series, Raines had a seventh-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway and finished 35th in drivers’ points and the brand new Hall of Fame Racing team finished 26th in owners points.

He ran the whole 2007 season with Hall of Fame, except on the road course events when Ron Fellows took the ride. The team finished in the top 25 in owners points. At the end of the season he was replaced by J. J. Yeley. He also ran 9 races with Kevin Harvick Incorporated in the Busch (Nationwide) series.

In 2008 he sat out a few races in the Sprint Cup Series and then started driving the #08 E&M Motorsports Dodge sponsored by Rhino Energy Drink a few races into the season. At Pocono he began driving the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy, and he later started back driving for Front Row Motorsports and he swapped in between those rides throughout the season.

In 2009, Raines returned to the Nationwide Series for a full time schedule driving the #34 Long John Silver's Chevrolet for Front Row Motorsports, in which he replaced Eric McClure who left at the end of 2008. Raines had a fourth place finish in the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway which made Front Row Motorsports first top-five finish in any series. Tony earned a 12th place in the Nationwide series points standings that year and the #34 team earned a 20th place in owner’s points. Raines qualified for the Sprint Cup race in Phoenix in Barry Haefele's #73 car, and made a few other starts with Front Row Motorsports in the start and park #34 team.

When he is not racing, Raines enjoys spending time with his wife, Sue, and their son, Leland in Mt. Pleasant N.C where he currently resides. He also enjoys golfing, watching sports, hunting, gardening, and motorcycle riding.