Steele, Moore out of Daytona Shawn A. Akers, NASCAR Online SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 30, 1998) Bud Moore Engineering has announced that, with driver Tim Steele still recovering from the lingering effects of injuries -- including a mild ...
Steele, Moore out of Daytona
Shawn A. Akers, NASCAR Online
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Jan. 30, 1998) Bud Moore Engineering has announced that, with driver Tim Steele still recovering from the lingering effects of injuries -- including a mild concussion -- suffered in a crash during a practice session prior to the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway last November, it will not enter its NASCAR Winston Cup Series car in the Feb. 15 Daytona 500.
"Not competing in the Daytona 500 is a disappointment to all of us," team owner Bud Moore said. "But the most important thing is that when Tim is ready, that the team be ready as well. As everyone knows, Bud Moore Engineering did not run the full schedule of races in 1997, and we, like every other Ford team, have been working hard to make the changeover from Ford Thunderbirds to the new Tauruses.
"We are determined to return to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with the best effort we can possibly field, and we have a solid plan to do that. As soon as Tim is ready, we will undertake a full-scale testing program to enable us to learn all we can about what the new Taurus needs, so that when we come to the race track for events, we will be able to mount a strong challenge.
Moore's son Greg, a spokesperson for the team, said it could be as late as July before Steele will be able to return to action. Steele participated in testing at Daytona earlier this month in preparation for the Daytona 500, and prior to getting in the race car, had been cleared by doctors to race. After the test sessions, however, he complained of dizziness, and returned to his doctor for more tests. The tests proved negative, but the Moores aren't taking any chances with Steele's health.
That means Steele, the three-time ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion, will also not compete as scheduled in the season-opening FirstPlus Financial 200 on Feb. 8 at Daytona.
"There's no question about Tim's ability behind the wheel. He has proven it in every phase of the sport he's competed in," Bud Moore said. "As everyone will remember he was one of the fastest in testing at Atlanta before the accident happened. We really felt like we had something for the field at Atlanta, but we never had the chance to show it due to the testing accident."
Greg Moore said the possibility of putting another driver in the car had been discussed, but since the team was a collaborative effort between Bud Moore Engineering and the Steele family, they decided against it.
Steele's condition is just one in a series of setbacks for Moore's team. The team attempted to qualify for only a couple of races a year ago due to lack of sponsorship and other financial reasons.
"This is a real test of our patience, but I don't know how much more patient that Bud and I and the team can be," Greg Moore said. "We're going to continue to make a living at what we do, but this is just another stumbling block for us. It's no fault of ours, it's no fault of Tim's, it's just a setback. After missing most of the year last year, we definitely didn't want to sit out another four or five months this year, but I guess that's what we're probably going to have to do at this point."
One advantage of the entire scenario, Greg Moore said, is that it gives the team a little more time to prepare for the changeover this season from the Ford Thunderbird to the new Taurus. Ford teams will begin running the Taurus for the first time competitively at Daytona.
Greg Moore said that, although they hope Steele will be ready to race beforehand, that the team has set a target date for making its 1998 season debut of July 4 for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. That race will be the first one ever to be run under the lights at the storied 2.5-mile oval.
"The full testing program and running a limited schedule of major events later this season will be the best way to prepare for a full-scale assault in l999," said the team owner. "We will have the proper amount of time to build new Tauruses and test them thoroughly, and be able to apply any rules changes that might occur during the season.
"We are determined to provide the best possible team, cars and personnel for Tim this year and in the years to come. Several crew members from his ARCA championship team are already at work in the shop here in Spartanburg, and I have every confidence they will provide new ideas for us that will blend well with the experience and knowledge that our team has. I believe it is the best of both worlds, and I am confident we will be extremely competitive when we race later this year."