Raines To Return In 2007

CORNELIUS, N.C. - Tony Raines will return to Hall of Fame Racing and the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet for the 2007 season, Hall of Fame Racing officials announced Aug. 23.

Raines will compete in every event on the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule.

"Two-and-a-half months before the Daytona 500, we didn't even own a lug nut," said Bill Saunders , managing partner of Hall of Fame Racing. "Without the heart, desire and talent of Tony Raines and Philippe Lopez , we couldn't have come this far. And without the help and leadership of Terry Labonte, we don't even get started. We've come a long way this year, but we are not putting consistently good race cars on the track yet. So it's hard to evaluate just how good our driver is or can be. We are going to get better and give Tony something to showcase his talent."

Raines has shared driving duties with Labonte this season, posting a best finish of 11th on August 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Labonte drove the first five races of the season and the two road course events at Sonoma (Calif.) and Watkins Glen (N.Y.). Raines has competed in 16 races and will drive the remaining events on the 2006 schedule.

"I'm happy to be coming back," Raines said. "I think we've made progress and we're learning, but we are a long way from being as good as I know we will be. I'm looking forward to finishing 2006 in a strong way and having a great season in 2007 in the DLP HDTV Chevy."

In 16 starts in 2006, Raines has scored 10 top-25 finishes and helped the team to 27th in Nextel Cup owner points.

"Consistency and team chemistry are very important, whether it's in racing, football or business," said Roger Staubach, who co-owns the team with Saunders and Troy Aikman. "Tony and the team have really gelled together well, and we're happy with the progress that's been made. I'm excited about finishing up 2006 strong and getting ready for 2007."

"Tony has done a tremendous job representing DLP Products," said Dave Duncan, Manager, Sponsorship Marketing for DLP Products, a division of Texas Instruments. "He has done an outstanding job on the track and has been great with our customers and fans off the track. We're looking forward to having Tony represent DLP again in 2007."

The next race for Raines and the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevy is the Sharpie 500 Aug. 26 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

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