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NFL star Moss debuts racing team in Sparta

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By The Staff

By PAUL GABLE

Landmark News Service

SPARTA, Ky. – Having accomplished everything shy of winning the Super Bowl as a wide receiver of the New England Patriots, Randy Moss turned his attention to another form of competition Saturday.

Moss, who bought a 50-percent share in Morgan-Dollar Motorsports several weeks ago, made his debut as a truck owner on July 19 at the Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway, accomplishing a dream.

The debut marked the end of six months of hard work.

“This is something I have looked forward to for quite a while now. It has been a long process for me to be here in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and it’s been an experience,” Moss said. “Teaming up with David Dollar has been a ride. It’s had it’s ups and downs, but mostly it’s been ups.”

Moss was presented a racing jacket with the Kentucky Speedway and New England Patriots logos on the front and “Moss” and his NFL number and truck number, 81, on the back.

The West Virginia native said the proximity of Kentucky Speedway to his home state was important to his decision of when to debut the No. 81 truck, driven by Willie Allen, in the Bluegrass State.

“This is close to my roots. It’s a three-hour drive. When we were picking dates, this was it. I didn’t want to be in Homestead or Dover,” he said. “To be three hours from where I grew up and the people from my home state could come, it played a lot in us choosing to open at Kentucky.”

Moss, who has sponsored a dirt-track program and has been an ambassador for the Urban Youth Racing School, said it was his upbringing in West Virginia that helped mold him into a racing fan.

“I have a little bit of racing background in my roots with dirt tracks. I have been blessed with what I have accomplished in my career. I’ve been a fan,” Moss said.

It was the 2001 death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. that got Moss to start “paying more attention to the sport.”

“At first, I didn’t know how big it could be,” Moss said.

Earlier this month, Moss was asked by a reporter at Daytona if he liked to see wrecks, and he replied no.

“I’m not here for that. I like to see them go around and compete. I’m not here for the wrecks, but rather to compete and win, spin your car out, all the champagne and to go to Victory Lane.”

Moss is one of a handful of NFL players to become interested in racing, joining the likes of Dan Marino, Troy Aikman and the late Reggie White as car owners. But Moss says there is one big difference between himself and those former NFL players.

“They jumped right into the top of NASCAR, and I told David that I didn’t want to jump into the top, but rather start at the bottom. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is considered the bottom, and I want to gradually work my way up,” he said. “How long will that take? I really don’t know, but right now, I am enjoying the ride. Hopefully we can win get some victories. What’s after that, I really don’t know,” Moss said.

Moss understands there are several doubters in the racing world.

“I visualized it happening. I do have a passion for it. When the team and the driver sees how focused I am with my profession, I think it can go a long way,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s impossible, and all my life I have been doubted with everything I have put my hands on. I am up for the challenge. I’ve been doubted, but I have been able to succeed. With my passion and determination to win, I think it can carry us a long way.”

And for those wondering if this is just a hobby for Moss, they should think again. He makes one point perfectly clear: He intends to win.

“I have one set of licenses. I don’t want to be in the car or truck, but I think the sport itself is what gained my interest. I like to compete on the football field and with anything I do. Seeing them compete is something that gives you a good rush as a fan, and that is what led me here.  I want to win,” Moss said.

The drive toward Victory Lane began with Allen finishing 15th at Kentucky Speedway.

Paul Gable is sports editor at the Grant County News.