NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2010 NASCAR Driver Review: Tony Raines

Tony Raines

2010 Rides: No. 64 Gunselman Motorsports Toyota, Nos. 34, 37 Front Row Motorsports Fords, No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet
2010 Primary Sponsor: A&W All-American Food (Nos. 34/37)
2010 Owners: Larry Gunselman (No. 64), Bob Jenkins (Nos. 34/37), Kevin Buckler (No. 71)
2010 Crew Chiefs: Larry Gunselman (No. 64), Brian Burns (Nos. 34), Greg Conner (No. 37), Paul Clapprood (No. 71)
2010 Stats: 9 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 poles, 3 DNFs, 49th in points

High Point: As Raines spent little time actually running in the Cup series, perhaps it’s best to give him a nod for his finish during the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega in his No. 34 Nationwide car. Coming out of turn 4 on the final lap, Jamie McMurray tried to slip in front of Kevin Harvick on the bottom… where there just wasn’t enough room. The Big One ensued, highlighted by Dennis Setzer’s machine doing a flaming cartwheel into the fence and collecting about 15 cars.

Lucky for Raines, his Long John Silver’s machine managed to slip by the carnage and collect a very respectable seventh-place finish.

Low Point: While Raines did manage to keep his name visible during the 2010 season in the Cup series, in hopes of garnering a more consistent contract for 2011, his sometimes association with the volatile and underperforming Front Row Motorsports team did little to help his career. While the veteran did manage to finish six of the nine Cup events he started, with a best finish of 28th, he really had nothing to write home about.

Summary: Eager to assist any team looking for a pilot, Raines spent 2010 hopping into whatever car would paint his name over the window. He also participated in the unending shell game with FRM as they struggled to keep all three cars above the Top-35 bubble. However, Raines did not help himself by accepting such marginal rides.

As the start-and-park epidemic swept over the Cup Series, earning enough dollars for the owners to do it again next week, the parade of underperforming machines executing endless do-si-dos in and out of the garage provide nothing to improve the sport, and the drivers stuck behind the wheels of those machines only hurt their chances at making it big by appearing as nothing more than men taking a paycheck to park — not race.

An already struggling driver, older than the shiny young guns and without corporate backing, Raines may have hammered the final nail in his Cup career as he took green flag after green flag without hope of remaining on the lead lap, let alone finishing the race.

2011 Outlook: Currently, it appears that Raines will be piloting the No. 34 Long John Silver’s Chevrolet for the joint Front Row Motorsports/Tri-Star Motorsports Nationwide venture. There’s no other information available regarding possible Sprint Cup opportunities at this time. For the aging Raines, it appears his window to succeed at the big-time level of stock car racing may have passed him by.

2006 Frontstretch Grade: C
2007 Grade: D-
2008 Grade: D
2009 Grade: N/A
2010 Grade: D

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