After spending three-plus years building the foundation necessary to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series, The Money Team Racing (TMT Racing), co-owned by professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, is looking to continue a steady path of development in 2023.
The first-year team, which broke out the colorful No. 50 Chevrolet Camaro in four NASCAR Cup Series events in 2022 – at Daytona, COTA, Charlotte, and the ROVAL – looks to have found a key, one that the team hopes will unlock a bright future at NASCAR’s top-level.
After a hibernation lasting more than five months – from May to October – the organization made its fourth and final start of the year at Charlotte’s ROVAL, while also introducing NTT IndyCar Series driver Conor Daly to the NASCAR Cup Series.
While the end result – a 34th-place finish – may not seem impressive, the weekend struck a chord with TMT Racing, especially co-owner Willy Auchmoody, which has since brought the entire operation to rally around the Indiana native.
“We only ran one race with [Conor Daly] last year, obviously, but myself, the crew chief, our PR team, my family… he’s just a really awesome guy, like really awesome,” Auchmoody told TobyChristie.com. “We enjoyed every aspect of working with him.”
Although, the admiration for Daly and his overall personality isn’t just the result of the two parties working together at Charlotte’s ROVAL, but rather an amalgamation of observations over the years, watching the Noblesville, Indiana-native’s career.
“I’ve always been a fan of Conor; I’ve always felt that he was a NASCAR driver living in an IndyCar world. It’s just his attitude, his demeanor,” Auchmoody said. “He’s – I don’t want to say a ‘bad boy’ in IndyCar, but he definitely doesn’t fit the mold over there as much as he fits the mold in NASCAR.”
Auchmoody and the entire TMT Racing organization were impressed, taking into account that the deal came together three weeks prior, and that Daly, a Cup Series debutant, got to make seven laps before taking the green – the fewest of any driver in the field.
That lack of track time can mostly be attributed to a steering failure in practice, which sent Daly into the outside wall just moments before the end of the session.
“We struggled out of the gate – as any young team does, as anybody making their NASCAR Cup Series debut does, but by the end of the race, he was running impressive lap times for somebody who’s never done it before,” Auchmoody continued. “And that’s something we have to hang our hats on, the fact that we started in one spot, and by the end of the race weekend, by the time the checkered flag flew, we were running competitive lap times, that, we would have been pretty damn good if we were closer when we got there.”
In fact, Auchmoody recalls the high praise for Daly, given by the team’s crew chief, Tony Eury Jr., who has worked with top-tier drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NASCAR Cup Series throughout his career.
“When the crew chief makes a comment, that we could build something around this kid, especially a crew chief that has his background,” Auchmoody said. “He helped Danica [Patrick] get into NASCAR, he was the first crew chief she had when she ran in NASCAR, and he loved working with her, and he feels he could take the knowledge that he learned from her transition from IndyCar to NASCAR, and do the same thing with Conor.”
So, starting next season, building around Daly is exactly what they’ll do, as TMT Racing plans to compete in no fewer than six NASCAR Cup Series events, with Conor Daly taking the reigns of the No. 50 in the vast majority of them – if not all of them.
According to Auchmoody, the only potential point-of-pivot comes from talks that have been held with Helio Castroneves and his team, about the possibility of piloting the No. 50 Chevrolet Camaro in the Daytona 500.
In addition to attempting the season-opening event at Daytona – which Auchmoody thinks will likely be a tall task, given the number of stout open entries – TMT Racing aims to compete in events at Las Vegas, COTA, Indy’s RC, Charlotte’s ROVAL, and Phoenix, as well as possibly Watkins Glen.
Should the team find an influx of sponsorship dollars for its part-time campaign in 2023, Auchmoody says that the two events at Talladega Superspeedway would likely be high on the team’s list of races to add.
Along with building a larger schedule year-over-year, The Money Team Racing is also looking to improve performance heading into next season, with Auchmoody saying he’d like to find the No. 50 being semi-competitive throughout the events.
“Our performance on track this year was subpar at best,” Auchmoody said, candidly. “I would say – our worst finish was the ROVAL, but if you look at our lap times in the second half of the race, the last stage particularly, it was actually the best we ran of our four races this year.”
Despite a lack of speed for the NASCAR Cup Series newcomers, one thing TMT Racing was able to do, that many others in the field couldn’t, was finish the races, especially when it came to the Coca-Cola 500, where the No. 50 scored a season-high 23rd-place finish.
“We were there at the checkered flag for all four races. I was very proud of the job the guys did preparing the car. You know, decisions that Tony made during the race – whether it was Kaz or Conor – I was very happy with that aspect of what we did this year,” Auchmoody continued. “We finished four races. Yes, we were only on the lead lap at COTA, and we struggled in the other three races, but we finished those races, where a lot of teams with a lot bigger budgets than we have to work with, didn’t finish those races, for whatever reason.”
Looking ahead to the 2023 season, TMT Racing is looking to improve upon the raw speed that the team brings to the track each weekend, while also continuing to play to the team’s strengths, being there at the end of the races.
“Our goal is – outside of a mechanical failure or crash – is when we are running at the end of these races next year, to be semi-competitive by being on the lead lap, maybe having a few runs throughout the race where you’re running top-20, top-15, that would be amazing, and I don’t think I’m out of line asking for that, and putting that as our goal.”
And while everybody in the racing world wants to be winners, Auchmoody and The Money Team Racing are realistic about the notion that a victory in the NASCAR Cup Series, isn’t something that – barring extreme circumstances at Talladega or Daytona – will be achievable in the short-term.
Having used ECR Engines for the team’s four-race stint this season, TMT Racing could attempt to close the gap to the mid-field by forming a technical alliance – whether it be with RCR or another Chevrolet team.
While nothing has materialized of that nature, Auchmoody is adamant that he hasn’t closed the door on making that happen for the team’s upcoming ventures with Conor Daly.
“Once we get our plans finalized for 2023, I would love to sit down with whoever is willing,” said Auchmoody. “Richard Childress Racing was extremely helpful to us last year in what they could do for us, with us not being in an alliance, so I would love to strengthen our relationship with RCR and Chevrolet, that would be the preferred choice.”
With a part-time effort consisting of less than one-quarter of the full season, it may be too early to think about a full-time campaign for The Money Team Racing, but with charters being a hot commodity, the thought lingers on the mind of the team’s co-owner.
“If a charter was to become available, we would definitely be a player, for sure,” Auchmoody said. “The charter prices have gone up, but they’ve gone up reflective of what the potential payout could be with the new agreement.”
In the meantime, The Money Team Racing will continue onwards in its mission to build a rock-solid foundation around Conor Daly, as the newcomers to the NASCAR Cup Series attempt to navigate a busier schedule in 2023.
…and who knows. Maybe by the time The Money Team Racing is ready to compete full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, Conor Daly will be ready to shed his IndyCar roots and do the same thing.