Victory Motorsports teams with Morgan Shepherd

Full Season Ahead For Shepherd, Victory Motorsports Christian businessmen backing Christian race team CONOVER, N.C. -- With backing from Christian businessmen nationwide, Victory Motorsports will field driver Morgan Shepherd on the ...

Victory Motorsports teams with Morgan Shepherd

Full Season Ahead For Shepherd, Victory Motorsports
Christian businessmen backing Christian race team

CONOVER, N.C. -- With backing from Christian businessmen nationwide, Victory Motorsports will field driver Morgan Shepherd on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for the entire 2006 season. The announcement was made Monday by Tony and Brian Mullet, two businessmen and brothers from Ohio, who are leading the effort.

"This is a tremendously exciting time for me as a race car driver but is also tremendously exciting because of the possibilities in spreading the Gospel," said Shepherd, 64, who is becoming the oldest full-time driver in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series history. Shepherd has dedicated his career, as well as his life, to spreading the Gospel and the salvation story. He has competed in a car emblazoned with "Racing With Jesus."

Shepherd is testing in Daytona Beach, Fla., through Wednesday, preparing for the Daytona 500 in February. Doug George is the crew chief of the #89 Dodge, and the team will be using Joey Arrington engines.

One of the most -- if not the most -- Daytona-experienced drivers in the 500, Shepherd has notched top-10 finishes in one-third of his races there . . . an incredible statistic when taking into account some of the lower-financed teams with which he has run. He has 33 starts, six top fives and 11 top 10s at Daytona. Shepherd competed in his first Daytona 500 in 1978, and picked up his first Daytona International Speedway top five in the 1982 July 400-miler.

"Our goal is to go down there and get this team off to a solid start," Shepherd said. "We want to be at least in the top 35 of the car owners' standings after the first five races (which guarantees starting positions for races following that), and build this team. We know we have a long way to go, but we have every intention of getting there."

The Mullets, whose Dutch Quality Stone is based in Mt. Eaton, Ohio, are leading putting together a group of Christian businessmen who are backing Victory Motorsports financially, and are working to develop sponsorship.

"This is a great opportunity for Christians to help promote salvation and to promote the importance of our Savior to the world through one of the best means possible -- motorsports," said Tony Mullet. "We're encouraging other businessmen to join us, to promote and market their companies in the traditional sense but to also, in doing so, 'market' eternal life."

Said Shepherd, "We have a lot of work ahead of us and it's going to be a tough road, but I'd rather start with nothing and have Jesus Christ on my side than start with millions and millions of dollars and not have Jesus. We want to run and run competitively but our main goal, our main focus, is educating as many people as we can about salvation and God's plan for them.

"For a lot of race teams, winning the Daytona 500 is the main goal. That's something we'd sure like to do some day too, of course. But if we can get one person to see our car, to start asking questions and to find the love of Jesus, then I'd trade it for all the 500s that have ever been or ever will be."

-wca-

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