Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NFL Hall of Famer Learning Fast as Cup Owner

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NFL Hall of Famer Learning Fast as Cup Owner

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble

Troy Aikman was at the Texas Motor Speedway last Sunday - as a car owner. He and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach are co-owners on the No. 96 Chevrolet. Their team is called Hall of Fame Racing.

Aikman talked before the race about the struggles of being a car owner in the Nextel Cup Series and how he deals with it compared to his success in the National Football League. Here are excerpts of that interview:

Question: How are you handling disappointment on the track?

Aikman: As we have learned, that is part of racing. It happens to a lot of cars out there that are running pretty well. For example, I saw Greg Biffle in races last year have the best car on the track and get wrecked out of the race. Those things do occur, but it is frustrating when you have a chance to finish pretty good, you have a strong car and it doesn't go the way that you hoped.

Question: Is your team and driver Tony Raines meeting expectations?

Aikman: I don't want to over-characterize it and say it is not going as we hoped. I just think we all feel we can be better than where we are right now. As far as our long-term thinking, it doesn't change anything. Our expectations for the remainder of this year are as they were when we came in to the season. Last year we had hoped to be a top-25 team. This year we hope to be a top-20 team. I think that is still a relatively modest goal, I think we can do better than that. It is just kind of a place for us to set out sights. But we do expect to get better real soon.

Question: What has surprised you most as a car owner?

Aikman: Nothing has surprised me too much other than I still haven't been able to figure out how NASCAR decides on their degrees of punishment. That is probably the most surprising thing to me. How those are handed down. I didn't want to use the word consistency. We got hit early in our first race, at Daytona last season. We had an illegal carburetor that didn't impact our qualifying time whatsoever. It was for fuel preservation, which obviously you don't need on a two-lap qualifying run. And there was someone else who had been able to put together a device to raise and lower a windshield. So how some of those things are handed down and to the severity - and I don't say this to be critical in any way - of how those things are handled has been the most surprising thing to me about the sport. The rest of it, the competitiveness, the cost of sport, the difficulty, the competition, all those things, we knew those things going in. I think a lot of people thought we were going to be surprised at how competitive it is and how difficult it is to have success and all that. We have not been. But that one area with NASCAR has been the one biggest surprise that I have had.

Question: Are their traits and differences between drivers that define success? …

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