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

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.