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FORT WORTH, TEXAS - JUNE 12: Jesse Iwuji, driver of the #34 eRacing Association/Gap Em Toyota, smiles during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 220 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 12, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images
FORT WORTH, TEXAS - JUNE 12: Jesse Iwuji, driver of the #34 eRacing Association/Gap Em Toyota, smiles during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 220 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 12, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images

NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith Teaming with Jesse Iwuji to Form Jesse Iwuji Motorsports in 2022 Xfinity Season

Though he is entering NASCAR with a much larger purpose, Emmitt Smith also wants it known that he has the bona fides of a fan.

The NFL’s all-time leading rusher has attended races at Texas and Bristol and counts “Days of Thunder” as one of his favorite movies. His father was “a big NASCAR guy” who collected racing memorabilia.

“Of course, of course, of course,” the Pro Football Hall of Fame running back told NBC Sports with a chuckle when asked if he knew much about stock cars before becoming a partner in the newly formed Jesse Iwuji Motorsports. “I’m from Florida, and I know all about Daytona Beach. I know you call Dale “The Man.” I know a lot about NASCAR.

“NASCAR is one of those things that obviously is a pastime for a lot of folks, and a lot of folks that don’t look like Jesse and myself.”

Smith is hoping to change that through helping field Iwuji in the Xfinity Series next year. Iwuji, who will become a driver-owner, said Jesse Iwuji Motorsports also will be an “opportunity generating system” intended to bring new faces from untapped areas into NASCAR through team or industry employment.

NBC Sports