Ex-NFL players out to make mark in racing

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Former NFL stars Bill Romanowski and former Atlanta Falcon Terance Mathis joined a long list of professional athletes who will try to make a mark in racing.

Romanowski bought a minority stake in Swan Racing as the team prepares for its first season in the Sprint Cup Series.

The team will open with Michael Waltrip as the driver for the Daytona 500. After that, David Stremme will drive the No. 30 Toyota for the rest of the season.

Romanowski’s Nutrition53, will sponsor the car for 10 races.

Mathis, who made attempts to create his own team, has joined Leavine Family Racing as a vice president of marketing. He will be responsible for finding sponsors for the No. 95 Ford and driver Scott Speed, as well as making appearances at the track.

“I have been involved in NASCAR for several years,” Mathis said. “It’s a sport that I’ve liked for years. I’ve been involved in ownership several years ago, so I have a feel for how things work. Leavine Family Racing has all the pieces to be successful. Hopefully I can play a role in taking it to the next level.”

Romanowski and Mathis join Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Mark McGwire, Dan Marino and Jerry Glanville all have been involved in racing in the past.

MARTIN MOVING ON: The 2013 season will be the last for Mark Martin in the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.

Martin said he will move to a new ride next year, perhaps continuing to maintain a part-time schedule, knowing another driver can take the car to a championship.

The most-likely candidate to replace Martin is Brian Vickers, who is already signed to drive nine of the races Martin plans to skip.

AIR TITAN TO DEBUT: A new track dryer, called Air Titan, will make its debut during Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway.

The Air Titan will replace traditional jet dryers. NASCAR also said it will reduce track-drying time by as much as 80 percent.

The rollout comes after 18 months of planning and testing, NASCAR vice president Steve O’Donnell said Tuesday.

“The system basically works by having compressors feed air at a high rate of speed through a hose to the Air Titan modules, and the Air Titan is able to blow air in narrow, highly pressurized sheets over the race surface down onto the apron,” O’Donnell said. “And then we’ll have jet dryers behind each cycle, we’ll have five of those, that will move at a rate of speed at approximately 3 to 5 miles per hour, important for them to maintain a consistent speed.”

Once the sheets of water are forced to the apron, vacuum trucks will follow to remove it.


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