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Hall of Fame Racing planning staff cuts

By JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Hall of Fame Racing, the NASCAR team owned by Arizona Diamondbacks executives, will cut its staff even if it secures sponsorship to run a full 2009 season.

HoF general manager Tyler Epp said Tuesday employees were told no one will be laid off before the end of November, as team officials search for more funding. But with 44 employees for a single car operation, Epp said the team is overstaffed.

“The reality is we ran 39th in points this year and personnel changes are going to be made,” Epp said. “And we simply have too many people for a one-car team. We’re going to have a reduction no matter what happens.”

HoF is one of many small NASCAR teams being squeezed during this economic crisis. Sponsorship is extremely difficult to find and operating costs in NASCAR are at all-time high. Without outside funding or a merger with another team many small organizations are in danger of shutting.

Epp said the team is close on several possibilities, but a merger with another small NASCAR team is not likely at this time. The team has partial sponsorship from DLP HDTV for next season.

Hall of Fame originally was formed by former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, but they sold their interest in the team last year to Diamondbacks executives Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel. Moorad is the Diamondbacks’ chief executive officer, and Garfinkel is the chief operating officer.

The team had a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, but Epp said the agreement most likely will not carry into 2009 as the team searches for a new partner. Depending on whom they lease their motors from ó and JGR is still a possibility, Epp said ó the team could also have a manufacturer switch.

HoF started in Chevrolets, then moved to Toyotas with Gibbs. J.J. Yeley began the season driving the No. 96, but was replaced late in the year by Ken Schrader. JGR phenom Joey Logano also ran two races in the car.

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