Andrew Murstein may not exactly be the Mark Cuban of NASCAR. But the majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports is using a similar tack as he solicits goodwill from fans — and perhaps a track in the New York City area.
During an interview with My Country 96.1 FM in Long Island Friday morning, Murstein gave out his e-mail address, [email protected] — a move Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban made famous — while discussing his interest in bringing NASCAR to Gotham.
“A lot of NASCAR fans know the sport better than I, and I’m trying to be a good new owner and listen to the voices of the people,” said Murstein, who was raised in Long Island’s Roslyn community.
Murstein is the president of Medallion Financial Group, a publicly traded company that finances New York City taxi fleets. He got the advice about listening to fans from baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron, a member of Medallion’s board of directors. And another famous board member, former New York State Gov. Mario Cuomo, told him to be bullish about bringing a track to the area.
“I started talking to him about this idea about a month ago, because you can say he has some connection with politics these days,” Murstein said, “and he thought it was a great idea. He said to me, ‘Why not Staten Island?’ for example, and I went through how it was turned down years ago. And he said that this is a different economic climate than it was when it got turned down. The city and the state need more jobs and more economic development, they should revisit it. So one of the things I’m going to try to do is whisper in the Frances’ ears when I see them again to look at Long Island or New York City and reconsider putting a track there.”
Murstein recalled getting the call from Richard Petty last year when former RPM owner George Gillett fell into financial trouble. He said it would have been a travesty if one of the most prominent names in all of sports — not just NASCAR — was forced out of competition. He’s happy that a man known as much for signing endless autographs as his 200 wins is still at the track.
“Richard’s a legend, and we want this to be the fans’ team,” Murstein said.
RPM is off to a good start, as AJ Allmendinger is tied for third in Sprint Cup points heading into Sunday’s race at Las Vegas, and his teammate Marcos Ambrose qualified on the front row Friday night. RPM went down from four to two teams in 2011, and Allmendinger is the only RPM driver from 2010 to return. Ambrose came from JTG-Daugherty Racing, a satellite team of Michael Waltrip Racing and drivers David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr.
Thank you to TUMS for providing this video.