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October 1, 2014

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Former Niner Mike Cofer moving up in NASCAR ranks

Former NFL placekicker Mike Cofer will attempt to qualify for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Aug. 2 at Indianapolis Raceway Park for Las Vegas-based Quality Motorsports.

Cofer has two wins and is fourth in the NASCAR Late Models points standings at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He will attempt to make the NCTS race in a Ford F-150 owned by Jerry and Char Spilsbury of Las Vegas and prepared by Long Brothers Racing of Apex, N.C. Spilsbury also owns the Late Models car Cofer drives.

"We've been wanting to test the waters at the next level for a while, but we also wanted to make sure it was the right situation," Cofer said. "I know Jerry has had a desire to do it for a while when he had Kurt (Busch) and Kyle (Busch) through here. They kind of moved on with other opportunities and we just felt like things had been going pretty decent at The Bullring."

Cofer said he has known Charlie and Robert Long, who have fielded trucks for Scott Riggs and Chad Chaffin, for several years.

"We're going to use (the Longs') stuff and run it as our team," Cofer said. "I have worked with Robert and Charlie and I know how professional they are and they always seem to do a good job for the people that get in the seat for them. You can get yourself in trouble if you dive into these upper echelons without a little bit of guidance and we feel they would provide that guidance that we really need."

Cofer, a kicker for the San Francisco 49ers for six seasons and a member of two of their Super Bowl championship teams, said he hopes he can run several truck races this season and run the series full-time next year.

"Hopefully, if we go through the right qualifying process, we'll get approval from NASCAR to compete here in Las Vegas when the trucks come here in October."

Because he has no experience driving in the Truck Series, Cofer must first prove to NASCAR that he is able to run on the smaller tracks before the sanctioning body would allow him to compete on the 1.5-mile superspeedway at LVMS.

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