D-backs execs purchase NASCAR team owned by Aikman, Staubach

Updated: September 2, 2007, 5:13 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Two executives with the Arizona Diamondbacks have purchased majority interest in the NASCAR team owned by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, The Associated Press learned Saturday night.

Jeff Moorad, chief executive officer of the Diamondbacks, and Tom Garfinkel, the chief operating officer, will be introduced as the controlling owners of Hall of Fame Racing at a Sunday news conference at California Speedway, two people familiar with the deal told the AP. They requested anonymity because the formal announcement had yet to be made.

Aikman and Staubach, Hall of Fame quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys, formed their race team with three other partners in 2003. The No. 96 is in its second full season, driven by Tony Raines and sponsored by Texas-based DLP HDTV.

The original ownership group, including Aikman and Staubach, will remain involved as minority owners. But Moorad, who is part of the Diamondbacks ownership group, and Garfinkel will have controlling interest.

Garfinkel has vast racing experience through his previous role as executive vice president of Chip Ganassi Racing. He spent five years working directly under Ganassi and was intimately involved in every aspect of Ganassi's NASCAR and open-wheel organizations.

Moorad founded his own management company in 1983, and has represented athletes such as Manny Ramirez, Will Clark, Steve Young, Warren Moon, and Aikman. It was that previous relationship with Aikman that led the executives to Hall of Fame Racing when they began looking for a team to purchase.

Hall of Fame Racing has a close alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, and that's not expected to change with the sale. Gibbs currently fields Chevrolets, but is expected to announce next week that it is switching to Toyota.

Although aspects of the Hall of Fame sale are still being discussed, sources told The AP the team will use the same manufacturer that Gibbs does next season.

Hall of Fame Racing started from scratch and it's one-car operation is considered a success in today's big-budget, multicar teams. Although Raines is 31st in driver standings, the car is 25th in owner points and ranked ahead of cars owned by the big teams of Ganassi, Roush Fenway Racing, Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Many of the smaller NASCAR teams have been actively pursuing partners in an effort to compete with the super teams. Boston Red Sox owner John Henry partnered with Roush Racing at the start of the season, and at least three other teams have merged or taken on investors since.

Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett took controlling interest of Ray Evernham's organization last month, and DEI absorbed Ginn Racing in late July.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press