Johnson's Truck debut for Randy Moss Motorsports 'unbelievable'

Updated: August 28, 2008, 9:57 AM ET

Future looking bright for Randy Moss Motorsports

Randy Moss and David Dollar don't have a set time to connect on the phone, but they have been hooking up often lately. Usually on Tuesdays, when Moss is off from his day job as wide receiver with the New England Patriots, and frequently in the evenings of almost any day.

As co-owners of Randy Moss Motorsports, they've had plenty to talk about. The Craftsman Truck Series team has raced only four times since Moss bought into the former Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, but last week at Bristol it put two-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson in a truck for the first time. He crashed midway through the race and finished 34th, but just being in the No. 81 Chevrolet put RMM in the spotlight usually reserved for the multi-truck power teams like Bill Davis Racing, Kevin Harvick Inc. and Roush Fenway.

"It was unbelievable," Dollar said. "To have a two-time Cup champion drive your stuff is an honor in itself. He had never done it before -- who better to do it for than Randy Moss?"

That refrain has come back to Dollar often in recent weeks, as phones have been ringing from sponsors and others interested in being a part of RMM because of the name. Dollar said it remains to be seen what sorts of deals come to fruition and which end up being just talk, but either way it's the kind of attention he had not seen in a decade as a Truck Series owner.

"It still just surprises me every day, how big Randy Moss is, the power around Randy Moss," Dollar said. "There's no doubt that our program is definitely unique to the other programs out there, with Randy being an active NFL player and a man of his stature. There's a lot of synergies and excitement that goes with that and the competition on the racetrack. We'll see how it works out. Maybe it's just a lot of curiosity, but we'll see."

The team continued to stay in the news this week with the announcement of Marc Davis joining the team for Gateway on Sept. 7 and four to five more races in the coming weeks. Davis is an 18-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing development driver and will be the first African-American in the Truck Series since Bill Lester departed midway through 2007.

It was validation of a statement Moss made when buying into the team, that he would give young, promising drivers a chance in his organization.

"Their hearts are in the right place and their actions seem to be in the right place as well," said Harry Davis, Marc's father. "They decide who goes in the truck. I know they wanted to get off the ground with an established driver -- you can't get any more established [than] with Jimmie Johnson -- and they wanted to get off the ground with a young up-and-coming driver, and that's Marc.

"They get both ends of the spectrum and cover the whole mantra of what they want to do in NASCAR. As far as I can see as an outsider, they've done everything they said they were going to do in a short period."

That's also the long-term goal of the team. Dollar said the hope is to field two trucks next year, one with a veteran driver capable of contending for a title and the other serving as a training vehicle for young drivers. Davis could be a candidate for the latter, and someone like Bobby Hamilton Racing-Virginia's Dennis Setzer, a three-time series runner-up with Morgan-Dollar, would be a natural veteran hire.

"We have a short list of drivers that we're definitely keeping our eye on. We'll see what plays out," Dollar said.

In the meantime, Dollar said Johnson may not be the last Cup regular to drive the No. 81. That could be among the many subjects he continues to talk to Moss about on the phone.

"We talk about the performance, we talk about the upcoming driver lineup we're looking at," Dollar said. "He studies the sport, the operation. He's got thoughts and input about different things, whether it's from a marketing standpoint to something that would be cool to do, to again talking about drivers and looking toward the future."

John Schwarb is a freelance journalist covering motorsports and a contributor to He can be reached at


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No hard feelings

Ron Hornaday Jr.


Defending champion Ron Hornaday Jr. left Bristol with a bigger points deficit to leader Johnny Benson, finishing 24th after a late-race accident.

Shelby Howard and Bryan Silas got together in Turn 1 on the bullring, forcing Hornaday on the brakes. Unfortunately, Kevin Harvick Inc. teammate Jack Sprague was trailing just behind the No. 33 Chevy, and both slid into the wreckage, with Hornaday sustaining the most damage.

"It is just Bristol," said Hornaday, now 119 points behind Benson. "I thought I checked up. I don't know who got in the back of me and lifted the back tires off the ground. I had no control. I was going to go low. It is a shame."

Hornaday later found out it was Sprague.

"By the time I figured out what was going on, Hornaday had the brakes locked up, and so did I," said Sprague, who finished 14th. "I got into him and ruined his night. I hate that we got together. After that it was just survival. My night was over, too."

Spare parts

With his win at Bristol, Kyle Busch joined Mark Martin and Carl Edwards as the only drivers to win at the track in all three of NASCAR's top series. ... Busch was the fifth different winner in five short-track races this season. The series' last race on a short track is Oct. 18 at Martinsville, Va. ... Todd Bodine's runner-up at Bristol was his best finish since a season-opening win at Daytona and a second the following week at California. He has wins at seven of the remaining nine tracks on the schedule.