New owners of Hall of Fame Racing to continue partnership with Gibbs

Updated: September 2, 2007, 8:18 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

FONTANA, Calif. -- Hall of Fame Racing will continue its partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and follow its switch from Chevrolet to Toyota in 2008, the teams announced Sunday.

Hall of Fame Racing officials also made official the announcement that two executives with the Arizona Diamondbacks have purchased majority interest in the NASCAR team owned by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, extending the partnerships-and-mergers trend in Nextel Cup this season.

Jeff Moorad, chief executive officer of the Diamondbacks, and Tom Garfinkel, the chief operating officer, are the new controlling owners of the No. 96 Chevrolet team.

HFR general partner Bill Saunders and Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs announced the partnership extension. JGR is expected to announce Wednesday its move to Toyota. JGR supplies engines, chassis and bodies to HFR in a lease agreement.

Garfinkel is the former executive vice president of Chip Ganassi Racing. Moorad founded a sports management company in 1983. His firm has represented Aikman for many years.

"In Hall of Fame Racing, we found a team of great people with a great foundation that we can build on," Garfinkel said.

Aikman and Staubach, former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks, were the front men for a team that was formed by Saunders at the start of the 2006 season.

Tony Raines is the driver of HFR's car, which is sponsored by DLP/Texas Instruments. Garfinkel said no decision has been made on whether Raines will return next season.

DLP is in the second year of a three-year deal with the team and will continue next season as the primary sponsor.

On Friday, HFR general manager Philippe Lopez said the team had not negotiated with Toyota.

Lopez also said HFR would need to sign a new contract agreement with Gibbs because the three-year deal called for supplying HFR with Chevy parts and equipment. But Saunders said Sunday no new contract with Gibbs was necessary.

Aikman, Staubach and Saunders will continue with the team as minority owners.

Saunders said he has worked with Moorad and Garfinkel for two months to get the deal done.

"The most important thing for us was keeping our team and our people in place," Saunders said. "Jeff and Tom told us they wanted to grow what we have built. That meant everything to us."

The 96 Chevy ranks 25th in owner points this season with one top 5 finish.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

ALSO SEE