Nazareth, PA (5/23/99) Kelly Moore, driver of the LesCare Kitchens Pontiac, was among several Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring, competitors that traveled to Nazareth Speedway to compete in the First Union 200. The race was delayed twice during...
Nazareth, PA (5/23/99) Kelly Moore, driver of the LesCare Kitchens Pontiac, was among several Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring, competitors that traveled to Nazareth Speedway to compete in the First Union 200. The race was delayed twice during the day because of rain, and eventually shortened to 168 laps because of darkness. Moore's day was also shortened after Jeff Fuller hit the LesCare Kitchens Pontiac causing it to spin and crash hard into the retaining wall. Moore wound up finishing 39th, completing 101 laps. "Jeff (Fuller) hit me once pretty hard and then again shortly after that," a dejected Moore explained. "The second time the car came around real fast and there was nothing I could do but hold on."
Qualifying for the 200-lap Busch Series combination race was held on Saturday afternoon, Moore was one of the first cars to take to the track and his speed of 125.619 was 47th fastest among the 52 that attempted to qualifying. Moore used a provisional to get into the 44-car field and would start the 200-lap feature in the 43rd starting spot. During the "happy hour" practice on Saturday, Moore and his LesCare Kitchens team improved their practice times to 26th overall. "The team did a great job of improving the overall performance of the car during that last practice session," Moore said.
Track officials started the feature nearly five hours after the scheduled 12pm start. Rain dampened the track again after only 23 laps and NASCAR officials red flagged the event on lap 33. Drivers were summoned back to their cars thirty minutes later to resume racing. Moore was running in the 36th position as the race was restarted with 41 laps of the scheduled 200 completed. Patience and a lot of give-and-take was necessary as the competitors were continually bumping and banging their way to the front. "There was a lot of unnecessary banging going on out there," Moore explained. "NASCAR warned all the competitors a couple of times but they were still wrecking all over the track."
Moore broke into the top-25 around lap 77, avoiding two simultaneous crashes in turns one and four. "Our car was very comfortable and I was just being patient," Moore said. "We planned on pitting with the leaders and not give up our track position by pitting early like some teams decided to do." Three caution flags were thrown between laps 73 and 88; all for drivers making contact with the wall coming off turn four.
Restarting on lap 91, Moore ran strongly in the top-25 for the next 10 circuits. The 89 car nearly hit the LesCare Pontiac entering turn one around the halfway point and then hit him again on the backstretch. The final hit sent Moore into a spin and solidly into the retaining wall. The damage was beyond repair and ended the teams hope of a solid finish. The die-hard fans that outlasted the rain showers were certainly entertained by some exciting racing action over the last 75 laps. Though Jeff Green, Jason Keller and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. appeared to be the group of cars that would fight for the win, it was Busch Grand National points leader Matt Kenseth who took over the front spot from Tim Fedewa to earn the victory.
Kelly Moore and the LesCare Kitchens team have a week off as they prepare for a short-track event at Holland International Speedway in Holland, NY on June 5. Ryan Moore, Kelly's son, will be competing Memorial Day weekend at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, ME. Ryan is a first year competitor in the Super Sportsman division, piloting the #47 LesCare Kitchens Pontiac.