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Marino Moves Into Racing

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Marino Moves Into Racing
May 8, 1998, 12:19 PM

Marino moves into racing with Elliott, Nadeau By John Crowley NASCAR Online DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 1998) Dan Marino remembers his first car well. "It was a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a '74," he said. "It was green, originally, anyway. And ...

Marino moves into racing with Elliott, Nadeau By John Crowley NASCAR Online

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 12, 1998)

Dan Marino remembers his first car well.

"It was a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a '74," he said. "It was green, originally, anyway. And it leaked, so we had to drill holes in the rusty floorboards so the water could drain out."

Every trip was an adventure, even if it was just down to the malt shop. But the funny thing is, Marino's latest model is one he's even more nervous about.

Marino, the All-Pro quarterback for the Miami Dolphins and the man who has thrown a football for more yards than anyone in history, stopped by Daytona International Speedway Thursday morning to talk about the next best thing to tossing a touchdown. He has teamed with 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Bill Elliott as a car owner of the No. 13 FIRSTPLUS Financial Ford Taurus driven by Jerry Nadeau.

The package - the seeds of which were sewn when Elliott and Marino met at last year's Pespi 400 here - is tied to Marino's role as a spokesman for FIRSTPLUS Financial. But it's also linked to a few laps he turned under Elliott's tutelage last year at Talladega Superspeedway.

"Actually, Bill invited me up to testing in Talladega and I got in the car and ran it a little bit," Marino said. "The adrenaline you get from getting in a stock car and running it at 145-plus is something special." Now he's taking his shot at "The Super Bowl of stock car racing." He's not alone. Prominent pro sports figures have been beating a path to NASCAR's door lately, with no wane in sight.

The most notable member of the fraternity is Joe Gibbs, three times a Super Bowl champion coach with the Washington Redskins. He won the Daytona 500 in 1993 with Dale Jarrett.

NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving, and one of Gibbs' former running backs, Joe Washington, own a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division team and have plans to enter a car in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

Former San Francisco 49ers great Joe Montana is a part owner of Chip Ganassi's Indy car operation. Baseball player Jack Clark has owned and driven his own NHRA Top Fuel car. The NFL Player's Association is represented on Kyle Petty's No. 44 Pontiac.

Will the ball stop rolling? Not soon for Marino. Nor for Elliott, who found Marino to be as fiercely competitive on the track as on the field. "I had two cars at Talladega and I let him drive one and I went out and let him follow me around to show him the line and talk to him on the radio," Elliott said. "He probably ran 145 the first time. I guess we ran another six or seven laps and he got up to about 165 and I was very impressed."

So was Marino, that day and every one thereafter. "I'm going to be at a lot of races," Marino said.

Courtesy of NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Kyle Petty , Bill Elliott , Jerry Nadeau , Joe Montana