Ex-Cowboys greats to form start-up NASCAR team
By David Koenig, The Associated Press
DALLAS — Texas Instruments Inc. will be the primary sponsor for a NASCAR team run by former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, who aim to have a car and driver ready for the Daytona 500 in February.
Texas Instruments will announce Tuesday it plans to use the car to promote its DLP, or digital light processing, technology used in high-definition televisions.
Company officials declined to give financial terms of the three-year NASCAR sponsorship, but primary sponsors on the Nextel Cup Series commonly spend $15 million to $20 million.
Aikman, Staubach and veteran Trans Am series driver Bill Saunders formed Hall of Fame Racing, which in turn reached a deal with Joe Gibbs Racing to provide cars, engines and personnel.
One of the team's first jobs is finding a driver and crew chief.
"We're going to have to fast-track it on some things, but we can put a team together and a competitive team," Aikman said. "Everything has come together in a positive way."
Both former quarterbacks went into the business world after winning five Super Bowl rings between them. Aikman owns a car dealership and Staubach runs a real estate firm.
They have been trying to break into the racing game for about two years. They thought they had an agreement about a year ago with Hendrick Motorsports to provide cars and other gear, but the deal fell apart.
Aikman said Hall of Fame Racing's car would run in both of next year's Nextel Cup Series races in Texas. He said he and Staubach also are looking for a sponsor for a second car.
For Texas Instruments, NASCAR represents a new approach in the semiconductor company's effort to promote DLP, which more than a half-dozen manufacturers including Panasonic, Samsung and Toshiba use in HDTVs and home and theater projectors.
DLP sets compete with high-end TVs made using plasma and liquid crystal display screens. Last year, Texas Instruments tried TV, radio and Internet advertisements in eight cities to convince TV shoppers to look for sets with DLP technology. Another round of advertising is planned in the coming weeks.
"We had to find different ways to get our name out there," said Doug Darrow, the Dallas-based company's marketing manager for DLP. "We were attracted to NASCAR because of the tremendous fan loyalty, the huge fan base and great (TV) ratings."
NASCAR cars are known for flash and color, resembling high-speed billboards that promote everything from breakfast cereals to Viagra. Darrow said they hadn't settled yet on a design for the new car.
"We are a technology company," he said, "so we want it to look really cool."