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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

NFL’s Randy Moss won’t have easy road with new Truck team

Randy Moss is a superstar by any definition. He’s thrilled fans with his performances on the football field, and offended many at the same time with his antics through the years.

But now he’s taking on a whole new challenge … owning a team in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series. He’s not the first person from the ‘big 4 sports’ to venture into the racing world as an entrepreneur, but history has shown his chance of success is slim.

Randy Moss Motorsports will reportedly make its debut July 19 in the truck race at Kentucky Speedway. Rumor is he’s lining up a big-time Cup start to drive for him.

Even if he can round up a great driver, history has not been kind to past teams owned by sports starts. Former NFL stars Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach brought the 96 car to the Cup series several years ago, had little success and have since sold majority interest in the team to Jeff Moorad, an owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. Despite a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing, the 96 car has done even worse under Moorad’s leadership.

In the past, others have tried owning a NASCAR team -- including NBA great “Dr. J” Julius Erving, ex-NFLer Joe Washington, ex-Cleveland Cavalier Brad Daugherty (now an announcer, and rumored to be considering a return to team ownership), and even track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee. All of those experiments ended in failure, too.

The exception to the rule are the ones who come in with big-time bucks into existing teams. In 2007, Fenway Sports Group made an investment in Roush Racing, which was renamed Roush Fenway Racing and has continued its success in all three NASCAR series. But that was a team that already did well, so it’s hard to compare to a startup team.

Another success story is Gillett-Evernham Motorsports. Ray Evernham’s team got a jolt in the form of an investment from Montreal Canadiens team owner George Gillett, and there has been evidence that the investment has helped. Kahne ended a cold streak when he got hot during the Charlotte Speedweeks earlier this year, and is currently in the Chase as he sits in 10th place. Elliot Sadler is running better this year, though he has terrible luck.

I wish Moss luck in his new venture … he’s going to need it. Succeeding in NASCAR, even in the Truck series, is very difficult and his learning curve is likely to be sharp. He needs to surround himself with talented people who know the business or he is doomed to repeat the failures of the past sports stars who have ventured into NASCAR entrepreneurship.


Blogger lesismore34 said...

I agree 110% with you, it will be hard. Finding sponsorship in this economy will also spell doom.

July 1, 2008 at 3:09 PM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

In a sense, Moss has leg up on others seeking sponsors because he is a well-known name. They know his team will get mentioned and the car shown on TV, at least in the beginning, because of who owns the team.

July 1, 2008 at 11:06 PM 

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