Nascar driver returns home to meet fans

Chicagoland two weeks ago, no race last weekend, and the Brickyard this Sunday.

A perfect scenario for La Porte's Tony Raines to spend time back at home.

The Nextel Cup driver spent Wednesday evening at the La Porte County Fair meeting fans and signing autographs.

"It's kind of neat to see the people that live in your hometown, that follow nascar and try to appreciate what you do," Raines said. "For them to come out here and show their support means a lot to us."

Raines was also impressed with how many people showed up considering the weather. There was rain throughout the day in La Porte.

Fans of all ages were out to see Raines. Those older and even those younger, much younger.

"I'm coming to see you today," 4-year-old Dylan Hill said as he passed a Tony Raines license plate across the table.

Raines joyfully signed the autograph for the youngster who seemed so happy to see the nascar driver.

One trait fans can truly appreciate from Raines is his determination. The 43-year-old raced in many circuits before he was finally able to make his Nextel Cup debut 5 years ago at the age of the 38.

While he has been racing since he was 16, he still only has 101 Nextel Cup races under his belt.

"I'm not a rookie, but I dont have a whole lot of experience (on the Nextel Cup Series)," Raines explained.

"Its been a journey for sure. I certainly hope to have a couple of more good years before they run me off."

Raines is 32nd in the Nextel Cup standings. He has had success at the Brickyard in the past. Last year he finished 11th.

Who knows; maybe this weekend will mark his first-ever Nextel Cup victory.

The All-State 400 at the Brickyard is Sunday at 1PM.

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