Super Bowl Champ to a Truck Series Winner: When 49’ers Superstar Shocked the Entire World With the Ultimate NASCAR – NFL Crossover

Published 02/12/2024, 2:02 PM EST

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One does not really associate the NFL and NASCAR a lot very often, apart from the occasional appearances of athletes from one sport in the events of the other. But perhaps no one (except Joe Gibbs) brought the two iconic sports together more than Mike Cofer. The 59-year-old, who used to be a kicker for the San Francisco 49ers, is the only football star to have won a race in a NASCAR-sanctioned competition and it set both worlds on fire back in the day.

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Cofer is a 2-time winner of the Super Bowl with the 49ers when he won the coveted title in 1988 and 1989. He could have been one of the first drivers to take part in the NASCAR Truck Series in the 1995 season, but turned it down for a coaching role with the Carolina Panthers. However, his legacy of being the only Super Bowl-winning NASCAR race victor will forever be remembered.

Back-to-back Super Bowl champion made history in NASCAR in 1994

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The 59-year-old began his career in motorsports after he had secured the biggest prize the NFL has to offer twice. His first taste of NASCAR came in the 1993 Featherlite Southwest Tour when he ran a race at the iconic Sonoma Raceway. His debut was not exactly memorable as the 2-time Super Bowl champion finished P39 after an oil pump failure. However, being a champion, Cofer had a never-give-up attitude, and he came back the next year.

This time, he ran a full season in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour with JMC Enterprises driving the #79 Chevrolet car. He won his career’s first and only race after 4 starts that year at the Stockton 99 Speedway in California. The former 49ers kicker started the race from pole position and led all 100 laps to take the checkered flag. He finished P5 in the points table and won the 1994 Featherlite Southwest Tour Rookie of the Year award. He returned to the sport once again in 2002 when he ran 3 Truck Series races, but they weren’t memorable performances.

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“I feel like if I can take baby steps and make a lot of them, then I’ll get further than if I try to take a lot of giant steps and get knocked back on my rear end so we’ll see what happens over the course of the year. A football career may be a little up in the air right now and racing’s going pretty good this year. Of course financially at this level, one’s a lot better than the other but we’re having a lot of fun right now, we’ll just do the best we can,” he had said just two weeks after his maiden NASCAR race win.

Cofer is not the only NFL star who tried their hand at stock car racing with NASCAR. Joe Gibbs himself is a man who used to coach the Washington Commanders in the NFL and is now the owner of one of the most successful Cup Series teams today. However, when it comes to Super Bowl winners, one of them is currently a tire changer in the Cup Series.

Watch This Story: Logano’s warning to Ty Gibbs: A brewing NASCAR rivalry

The Super Bowl winner who works as a Trackhouse Racing pit crew member

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The man in question is none other than the 2015 Super Bowl winner Josh Bush. He had won the coveted NFL title with the Denver Broncos against his hometown team, the Carolina Panthers. He retired from football in 2015. In 2018, he was convinced by Austin Dillon to join Richard Childress Racing as a tire changer. As of 2023, he is a member of the #99 crew of Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez.

Speaking about his experience as a member of a NASCAR team, Bush said that being confident was the key to doing a good job regardless of the sport.

“I think that just comes from experience, just being confident in who you are and putting the work in. I had a coach that told me, be humble in your preparations and be confident in your ability. So, I just try to prepare. When it comes to that moment, I’m not too high, I’m not too low. I’m just the same guy,” he said as per USA Insider.

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It’s always great to see athletes from other sports dabble their feet in the exciting world of stock car racing and, more often than not, they are left impressed. Several athletes from various sports have experienced NASCAR, and that’s saying something about the appeal of one of the biggest motorsports competitions in the world.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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One take at a time

Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad

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