Hall of Fame Racing, with driver and Phoenix native J.J. Yeley in the No. 96 car, will switch to Toyotas for the 2008 season in NASCAR’s top series, team executives said Friday.
Diamondbacks executives Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel, who purchased a controlling interest in Hall of Fame Racing earlier this year from former Dallas Cowboys greats Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, said the team will also continue its relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing, which also is making the jump from Chevrolet to Toyota.
The team will receive engine and manufacturing support from JGR as well as Toyota Racing Development.
“We expect to win, but we also know we will have to pay our dues,“ Moorad said.
Garfinkel said plans call for Hall of Fame Racing to eventually expand to a two-car team.
Tony Raines currently drives the No. 96 car and will sport a Diamondbacks NL West Division champion logo on his car for Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500.
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Nextel Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon, who is 30 points back, will appear during halftime of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game between the Seahawks and 49ers.
Rookie David Ragan was fastest in Friday’s final Busch Series practice with a lap at 27.518 seconds at 130.823 mph, followed by Greg Biffle (27.545, 130.695) and Brian Vickers (27.550, 130.672).
Carl Edwards, who locked up the Busch championship last weekend in Texas, was 25th fastest (28.131, 127.973).
Qualifying for today’s Arizona.Travel 200 is at 10:05 a.m. The 200-lap race is at 2:30 p.m.
Oakland Athletics outfielder Nick Swisher, and his dad, former major league catcher Steve Swisher, will serve as honorary race officials for the Checker Auto Parts 500. They’ll be joined by Yankees outfielder Shelley Duncan and free-agent pitcher Keith Foulke.
Electronics retailer Best Buy will serve as the primary sponsor of driver Elliott Sadler and the No. 19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge Avenger for 15 Cup races in 2008, including the Daytona 500. … Petty Enterprises announced that Paralyzed Veterans of America will serve as primary sponsor for Kyle Petty’s No. 45 Dodge during two races next season and as an associated sponsor for the 34 other races.