SPARTA — There aren't many owners in the Craftsman Truck Series who can spark an overflow presence in a media center simply by stopping by for a handful of minutes.
And for all the new owners who have joined NASCAR over the years, they most likely weren't given a custom-made jacket by a track vice president to commemorate their team's first outing.
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As he is quick to point out, however, NFL star Randy Moss is not like any other owner NASCAR has seen.
The New England Patriots receiver had the most anticipated arrival for someone not named Kyle Busch at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday when he turned out to watch the debut of his Randy Moss Motorsports team in the Built Ford Tough 225.
Only 16 days earlier, Moss announced he had purchased a 50 percent interest in Morgan-Dollar Motorsports and was planning to run selected races through the conclusion of the year before going full time in the Truck Series for 2009.
While some may view Moss's involvement in the sport as merely a hobby for the record-setting receiver, the West Virginia native made it clear he wasn't pouring that much cash into a venture simply for laughs.
“I'm not just a football player. I consider myself a businessman,” Moss said Saturday. “This is one of many ventures I'm taking on, but this may be the biggest venture.
“Someone asked me if I like to watch the drivers wreck and I'm not here for that. Just seeing these guys compete on the track gives you a good rush as a fan. That's what led me here, how competitive this sport is.”
Saturday night, Moss watched his driver, Willie Allen, finish 15th.
While former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs has fielded one of the most successful teams on the Cup level, other NFL personalities — Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach — have found the going in NASCAR more daunting than they bargained for.
By starting at the truck level, Moss believes he will have a better chance at long-lasting success. And thanks to the presence of a certain Cup points leader, Moss figured he'd get an early litmus test of how competitive his team can be.
“I was turning on SpeedChannel and saw Kyle's qualifying lap and I said, ‘Oh, Lord, Kyle Busch is here,' ” Moss laughed. “I know what he's done this year and it's been a record-setting season for him already. Hopefully we can follow in his footsteps and bring home some victories.”
Terry Cook still hasn't fully gotten over what transpired three years ago at Kentucky Speedway, and part of him doesn't really want to.
During the 2005 edition of the Built Ford Tough 225, Cook had an open length lead and was on the verge of halting what was then a near three-year losing skid when he blew a tire with five laps to go — clearing the way for Dennis Setzer to steal the triumph.
While Cook eventually won at Kansas the following year to snap his winless drought, the sport's resident iron man still feels a twinge of regret each time he returns to the Sparta tri-oval.
“It does give me a little more extra motivation (to run well here),” said Cook, who extended his all-time consecutive Truck Series start streak to 260 on Saturday. “There are a few things I knew were right then and I continue to do those things now. I was trying different lines to find grip, places I hadn't ever tried before and it worked. It was disheartening at the time, but you look back on it and you know you did everything right and it was just a fluke reason that kept you out of victory lane.”
Cook finished eighth Saturday night.
Two women in the field
Kentucky Speedway continues to be one of the more fortuitous tracks for female drivers.
With each needing to qualify on time, Chrissy Wallace — niece of former Cup champion Rusty Wallace — and Jennifer Jo Cobb made the field for Saturday's 150-lap test, starting 12th and 35th, respectively. Saturday marked the third time in track history two females have appeared on the Truck Series starting grid.
Cobb finished 26th and Wallace 33rd.