Barre, VT -- Kelly Moore, driver of the Tic-Tac Pontiac Grand Prix, finished 12th Saturday evening at Thunder Road International Speedbowl during the Jiffy Lube 150. Though Moore and his team were never able to get the chassis setup tuned to ...
Barre, VT -- Kelly Moore, driver of the Tic-Tac Pontiac Grand Prix, finished 12th Saturday evening at Thunder Road International Speedbowl during the Jiffy Lube 150. Though Moore and his team were never able to get the chassis setup tuned to compete for the win, they overtook Brad Leighton for 2nd place in the championship point standings. With only three races remaining on the schedule, Mike Stefanik leads Kelly Moore by 116 points. Maine native Tracy Gordon took advantage of a late race mishap involving then leader Dave Dion and scored his 1st win on the Busch North Series, a NASCAR Touring Division.
Leading up to the event, the entire team felt very confident that a top-5 finish or even a win was possible. In August, Moore's car ran exceptionally well on another ¼ mile track, and his team went on to score their 3rd win of the season. But, the team's lack of experience at Thunder Road showed, as they swapped everything possible in the chassis to get the car competitive. "We just never got a good handle on the racetrack," a dejected Moore explained. "Our team worked and worked to improve the handling but we just came up short."
Moore qualified 16th fastest during the first round session, with the crew again making major chassis adjustments prior to qualifying. "We made some major changes to the car before qualifying," Moore said. "At that point we really weren't sure what the car was going to do. Our two laps were better than our practice." The Tic-Tac team wasn't the only team struggling to find a race setup as points leader Mike Stefanik, track regular Kip Stockwell and veteran Jamie Aube all failed to make the cut from the first round of qualifying.
Dale Shaw won the pre-race redraw and started the race from the pole and led a couple of laps. But Dave Dion quickly took over the top spot and appeared to be the car to beat that night. Dion lapped the Tic-Tac Pontiac just before the 1st caution period. Moore pitted to make changes to the chassis in hopes of improving the handling. "That was unfortunate for us to get down a lap early," explained Moore. "Our car was really, really tight and we made some changes during our first stop and it helped a little bit."
Knowing they didn't have the setup to compete, Moore and his team battled to get the best position they could. During the 2nd pit stop of the evening, the team made every effort it to loosen the car up so Moore could move up in the field. "This is just one of the racetracks we really don't have a handle on yet," Moore said. "We just kept our nose clean and tried to get the best spot we could."
Next on the schedule is a 300-lap race at The New Thompson Speedway in Thompson, CT on September 13th.