As Torco's reported two weeks ago, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Duce Staley and his newly formed Catch 22 Motorsports team will field a pair of Pro Stock entries in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The cars will be wheeled by former two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jim Yates and past IHRA standout Billy Gibson.

Staley grew up watching professional drag racing with his father. Now he has the opportunity to participate first-hand as an owner with the formation of Catch 22 Motorsports. While helping the Steelers defend their Super Bowl title remains his top priority and main focus, Staley is also looking at his entry into motorsports as a business opportunity. Staley’s interest in the NHRA is long-standing, and he wanted to take an active role in the sport.

“I am very excited to establish this competitive racing team and am looking forward to engaging in a new challenge,” said Staley. “The competition level in Pro Stock is so tight now. I believe that my experience with the elite competition in the NFL and the parity among NFL teams is transferable to the parity in NHRA Pro Stock.”

“It is very exciting to see NFL star and Super Bowl champion Duce Staley become an NHRA team owner,” said NHRA President Tom Compton. “By naming Jim Yates and Billy Gibson to his team Duce has selected two talented drivers and I wish the team much success as they pursue an NHRA POWERade Series championship in Pro Stock.”

Staley began his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997 after being drafted in the third round out of the University of South Carolina. Staley had seven productive seasons with the Eagles, including three 1,000-yard rushing seasons and three consecutive trips to the NFC title game. Staley signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2004 season and rushed for 707 yards in his first seven games as the Steelers' starting halfback.

In addition to his two NHRA Pro Stock Championships, Yates has finished second in points three times and in the top-five eight times in 10 years. Additionally, Yates has won 25 NHRA POWERade national events and finished as a runner-up at an additional 35 events to date. Prior to establishing Jim Yates Racing, Yates was affiliated with another NFL star involved in motorsports – Joe Gibbs – as a member of Joe Gibbs Racing.

“It is incredible to have a driver of Jim’s stature on my racing team,” said Staley. “We’re going to try as hard as we can to add more championships to both our resumes.”

Yates says he saw certain qualities in Staley that led him to think that this could be a mutually beneficial partnership. “A major factor that attracted me to Catch 22 Motorsports was the competitiveness Duce has shown on the field throughout his NFL career,” said Yates. “I know he is going to do everything he can to make our team a success.”

Gibson, an up-and-coming NHRA driver, has experience in racing go-karts and a variety of drag racing classes, including Pro Stock, Pro Modified, Alcohol Dragster, and Alcohol Funny Car. Gibson began his racing career at age seven in the Virginia State Kart Series and has been racing ever since.

“Duce’s involvement with motorsports is very positive for the sport,” said Gibson. “He has name recognition with people who wouldn’t ordinarily follow the NHRA and we hope to capitalize on his NFL fan base.”

When looking at Gibson’s career, Staley was immediately attracted to the experience the young driver will bring to the team. “There is really no substitute for Billy’s vast driving experience,” said Staley. “Billy has basically seen it all and will be prepared for any situation that comes his way.”

In addition to the drivers, Catch 22 Motorsports has announced that Doug Kline will be the general manager for the team. Additionally, Kline will work with the crew in the pits as he has throughout his career. When not on the race track, Kline co-owns Precision Chassis, Inc. in Temple, Pa., which offers a wide variety of race cars and services.

“Doug is going to be integral to the success of Catch 22 Motorsports,” said Staley. “He brings 20 years of motorsports experience to the team and I am confident that we have an outstanding team in place to compete at the highest level of Pro Stock.”

Kline said he looks forward to the opportunity of working with this ownership group and with their experienced drivers. “From the first day they contacted me, Catch 22 Motorsports has shown a tremendous commitment to success,” said Kline. “I am very excited to be working with Jim, Billy, and Duce, as well as the rest of the team.”

Staley has also retained the services of Treseler Zalbe LLC for marketing services to leverage motorsports sponsorships for Catch 22 Motorsports. Treseler Zalbe LLC is a nationally recognized sports & entertainment marketing agency specializing in corporate consulting, event marketing, property representation, sponsorship activation and celebrity integration.