NASCAR Busch Series driver Jamie Mosley clearly thought long and hard about the benefits of starting a race team with University of Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith.

"Well, I should be able to get better seats at the home games this year anyway," joked Mosley during a teleconference yesterday.

The Kentucky native hopes to enter at least 20 Busch Series races in the 2005 season with his new team, which will be partly owned by Nextel Cup driver Joe Nemechek's NEMCO Motorsports. Smith said he will focus on bringing sponsors to the team; a portion of the revenues generated through his efforts will benefit the Tubby Smith Foundation, he said.

Smith, who grew up watching drag races at Budds Creek in St. Mary's County, is hardly the first high-profile sporting figure to enter stock-car racing. Julius Erving, Joe Washington, Reggie Jackson and Brett Favre have all dabbled in Busch Series ownership, Joe Gibbs won two Winston Cup championships between stints coaching the Washington Redskins and Magic Johnson recently joined NASCAR as an adviser on diversity issues.

Smith, who said NASCAR's diversity efforts played a role in his decision to join with Mosley, emphasized that their partnership was still in its infancy.

"You just don't start out in full gear," he said. "You have to start somewhere, and this is a beginning."

-- Dan Steinberg