NASCAR: Moss buys into team
By Jenna Fryer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ó Troy Aikman. Terry Bradshaw. Tim Brown. Julius Erving. Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Jim Kelly. Mark Rypien. Roger Staubach.
The list of top athletes who have come and gone through NASCAR is a collection of big aspirations with bank accounts that couldnít keep up. Some never reached the track, others spent millions searching for success before finally calling it quits.
Randy Moss insists heís different.
New Englandís All-Pro receiver became the latest athlete to cross into NASCAR when he announced Thursday he has purchased 50 percent of Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, a fledgling Truck Series team racing this season without sponsorship.
It costs at least $6 million a season to run a successful truck program, and if Moss canít find funding, heíll have to reach into his own pocket to pay the bills.
Moss, who wouldnít reveal the purchase price of his latest venture, said he has the funds to foot the bill and the desire to build a winning program.
iYeah, I am prepared. Iíll leave it at that,î he said at Daytona International Speedway, where heíll be attending his first NASCAR race this weekend. iI have been in the league 11 years, so I think Iím good. I am not really saying that I am 100 percent certain that itís going to work, but at the same time, youíve got to think positive. I think if you go out there and think in the negative light, bad things will happen.î
So Moss heads into a new sport with lofty aspirations. Heís renamed the team Randy Moss Motorsports and changed the truck number from 46 to 81 to reflect his jersey number. The revamped team will make its debut July 19 at Kentucky Speedway with Willie Allen behind the wheel.
A self-professed icountry boyî who got hooked on NASCAR growing up in West Virginia, Moss insists he did his research before buying a team and is aware of all the past failures from his NFL counterparts. Thatís why he zeroed in on an existing truck team with eventual aspirations to move into the premier Sprint Cup Series.
Many of the failed ventures before him aimed straight for the Cup Series.
iMost of those guys started out at the top,î Moss said. iI am true believer in you have to crawl before you walk, and I wanted to start at the bottom in the Truck Series.î
Moss isnít exactly new to the sport. Heís sponsored a dirt track program and has been an ambassador for the Urban Youth Racing School. At an event for young racers there, Moss met former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and asked him for advice on moving into NASCAR. Gibbs has won three Cup championships as a NASCAR owner.
iI think my dadís advice to him was ëDonít do it,í î team president J.D. Gibbs said. iBut I think heíll be fine. I think heíll be able to put together a partnership, and itís not like heís starting from scratch ó he already has a team there, so thatís going to be a big value.
iIím going to give him a hard time if I see him, tell him. ëI hope youíve got a lot of cash, my friend.í î
Gibbs guessed it costs about $7 million to run a successful program, and his father pulled the plug on spending it after sons J.D. and Coy were unsuccessful in a combined 64 truck races from 2000 to 2002.
iMy dad said, ëWhatever weíre spending there, itís too much. Weíre out of cash,í î J.D. Gibbs said. iWe were both fired. It didnít help that we didnít win anything, but it was a pretty good chunk of change.î
Two-time series champion Tony Stewart, who is exploring his own ownership opportunities, believes Moss can be successful.
iA guyís not going to take an undertaking like this unless heís going to give it 100 percent,î Stewart said. iA guy like Randy isnít going to make a commitment like this unless heís really passionate about this and he wants to be successful.î
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