Seeing Jeremy McGrath at Angel Stadium for the annual pre-Supercross-season media day is nothing too out of the ordinary. After all, he is a seven-time Supercross Champion and has eight wins at the Anaheim venue, tying him with Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart for the most wins at Angel Stadium. And his first career Supercross win also came at Anaheim in 1993. But what makes this gathering so much different is that he's not here as a racer, but as a team owner. He and long-time friend Larry Brooks, who was one of his team managers during his glory days on the track, have joined up to form the L&Mc Racing/Supercross.com Honda team.
Being a team owner isn't exactly new for McGrath who was also a team owner/racer back when he rode Yamahas in the late 1990s, much like Chad Reed is doing now with his TwoTwo Motorsports Honda gig. But this is McGrath's first venture as strictly a team owner.
"I'm back at Angel Stadium but this time as a team owner of L&Mc Racing, along with my partner Larry, and we're psyched," said McGrath. "I'm happy to be back here in this role, and I know Larry is, too. He's had a year off and it's been a crazy and tough year for him.
"For me, it's my first experience again owning a team or being a part of a team, other than my experiences with Honda recently, which has been awesome. It's my first role as team owner again since the '90s."
McGrath and Brooks are starting out small, having just one rider on the squad, but they have a good one - Andrew Short, who is back riding a Honda after a one-year stint with KTM, riding the 350 SX. And the fit seems good, as all three are seasoned veterans, and Short is extremely happy to be back riding the CRF450R again.
Despite working on the business side of things, McGrath still considers himself a racer.
"First and foremost, I think of myself as a rider," McGrath said. "Larry is my business partner, but there has to be good cop bad cop in running a team, and I'm the good cop, and Andrew, I look as him as my rider, but I also look at him as my confidante. I'm sitting there side by side with him, and if I can help him draw from my experiences, it's going to be good.
"I want to make this thing fun. Andrew is a good guy and his relationship with Honda in the past has been awesome, and so has mine, and to bring this all together is great."
McGrath sees being a team owner this time around a little different than before.
"It's different this time because before I was owner and operator, sort of like Chad is now, so his results are based on him - he's the owner. What we have going on and what no other team has going on is there is no other Supercross Champion team owner other than Chad and myself. You can look at that as a positive. Andrew has a lot of experience, and between Larry and myself to draw from, we want to provide the best situation for him to help him do the best he can."
As with any first-time team, McGrath isn't expecting to take Supercross by storm. At least that's what he says on the surface, but you know that his roots are all about racing and being a racer. And what do all racers what to do? Win, of course.
"We're not expecting a lot, we'd rather not expect much and over deliver, so we're just kind of flying under the radar and build this thing up. Still, I want to win.
"It's going to be fun and a challenge, but I'm not look to be just a second-tiered team. I want to win. But I'm okay with that not happening this year, but eventually that is our goal. We want to build it up to where we can compete and win races and hopefully win titles. We want to build this into a big championship team and to have Honda along side us the whole way. We think we're off to a great start but this is going to be work in progress."
Contrary to the team's name, this isn't a Supercross-only outfit.
"We're going outdoors," McGrath says. "I think it's important to go outdoors. Contrary to what everyone thinks of me not liking outdoors for some reason, you can't be a competitive team a take six months off anymore. We would be doing a disservice to our rider and any rider we have in the future not to ride outdoors."