Floyd Mayweather Jr. is ready to put the money into NASCAR.
The long-delayed debut of The Money Team Racing is set for the Daytona 500 later this month, with Kaz Grala as driver. The team has secured sponsorship from the Pit Viper sunglasses company and Grala will be driving the No. 50 Chevrolet for the retired boxing great.
Mayweather is the latest A-lister on the grid and joins Michael Jordan and Pitbull as celebrities over the past two years who have become NASCAR team owners. UFC President Dana White reached a marketing partnership deal this week with Pitbull’s Trackhouse Racing starting with the Clash exhibition in Los Angeles.
Mayweather’s team, however, doesn’t have a charter that would guarantee them a spot in the field and drive Daytona in an open car. This means that with some 42 teams hoping to qualify for a place in the 40-car field, Grala will have to work their way through the field.
“I love fast cars and I love competition. I know NASCAR won’t be easy, but nothing easy is worth doing for me,” Mayweather said. “That being said, this move into motor racing seems to be a perfect fit for the Mayweather brand.”
Team general manager William Auchmoody told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the plan is for TMTR to hold four races beyond Daytona with an emphasis on road courses. Auchmoody said the team would like to run up to 15 races.
Tony Eury Jr., former crew chief of Dale Earnhardt Jr., will make the decisions for TMTR. StarCom Racing’s Michael and Matt Kohler and Bill Woehlemann have a small stake in the team.
Mayweather, who turns 45 this month, retired from competitive boxing with a 50-0 record and returned to the ring last July to fight YouTube personality Logan Paul in an exhibition bout. Mayweather has won titles in the super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight divisions.
Mayweather had been talking about starting a NASCAR team for years and a tweet featuring the TMT logo was posted on March 21, 2020. There was no further social media activity until Monday when a car photo with the caption “The wait is almost over!” has been posted.
“We got sponsors for the 2020 season,” Auchmoody said. “The pandemic hit and the sponsor decided to wait.”
Auchmoody said Mayweather wanted to start a NASCAR team because “Floyd likes to compete”.
He loves cars,” he said. “I met him a few years ago and had the conversation, man, you should check out NASCAR. He started looking at it a bit and the next thing you know, I’m in Las Vegas and we’re discussing the details of what it would be like to get involved in NASCAR.”
Grala, 23, has four career Cup Series starts and finished 28th in last season’s Daytona 500 driving for Kaulig Racing. He won the Truck Series season-opening race in 2017 at Daytona.
“I know Floyd is here to win, and I absolutely think everyone involved in this program is capable of making that happen,” Grala said. “We know we will need time to grow together as a new organization, but I couldn’t be more excited to be part of building this team from the ground up.”