Hall of Fame QBs find success without wins

Friday, May 4, 2007
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman, left, and Roger Staubach are co-owners of a one-car NASCAR team with driver Tony Raines, who is 22nd in the point standings. (Associated Press file)

Hall of Fame quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman both won multiple Super Bowls and have a hard time grasping a concept of success that doesn't include winning.

But the co-owners of a one-car NASCAR team are no longer playing for those great Dallas Cowboys teams.

"I don't particularly like celebrating coming in 19th, but that's a pretty good day for us," Staubach said. "It's very unusual to celebrate coming in 19th in anything."

Or being 22nd in the standings, which Hall of Fame Racing driver Tony Raines is after nine races in the team's second season.

Considering the multicar teams run by the likes of Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Jack Roush and Joe Gibbs, a Hall of Fame coach who has been involved in NASCAR since 1992, this has to be considered a successful season so far for the quarterbacks-turned-car owners. No other one-car team is higher.

"I don't want to over-characterize it and say it's not going like we hoped. I just say we all feel like we can be better than where we are," Aikman said. "Our expectations for the remainder of this year are the same as what they were when we came into the season: top 20. I think that's still a relatively modest goal."

Raines is coming off a 22nd-place finish at Talladega, where he was running in the top 10 late before getting caught outside a line of cars. With no teammates to depend on for help, he quickly got shuffled back from ninth to 20th in one lap -- with 10 to go.

Talladega ended a stretch of three straight top-20 finishes that included a season-best 13th at Texas -- the "home" track for the former quarterbacks responsible for all five of the Cowboys' Super Bowl titles. Raines has finished lower than 24th only twice.

"Up until the day you win a race, you'll always want to finish higher," crew chief Brandon Thomas said. "That said, it's obviously a lot more rewarding from a performance standpoint to come back and say, 'We finished on the lead lap the last couple of weeks."'

Raines has finished every lap of the last four races, and all but 19 laps this season. The No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet -- the number was derived by multiplying the jersey numbers of Aikman (8) and Staubach (12), which were already taken in NASCAR -- has been running at the end of every race.

"We're starting to hit a lot of the goals we set out for ourselves," Thomas said. "The key is to keep that mentality and that momentum rolling as much as we can and to improve on it as we go."

Hall of Fame Racing finished 35th in owner points in its inaugural season, when Terry Labonte drove the first five races and ensured the car would get into fields with his standing as a two-time NASCAR champion.

Aikman and Staubach expect to do better this season, but realize they're only a second-year team that's not in position to compete for the Nextel Cup title yet.

"You want to take that leap, but it takes time," Staubach said.

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