An interview with: JON FOGARTY ROCKY MORAN, JR. Part 2 of 2 Q: Rocky, I don't know the full story on the airplane incident. Rocky Moran Jr: In a nutshell, my buddies and I decided to go out and have our hundred dollar hamburger. We were on...
An interview with:
ROCKY MORAN, JR.
Part 2 of 2
Q: Rocky, I don't know the full story on the airplane incident.
Rocky Moran Jr: In a nutshell, my buddies and I decided to go out and have our hundred dollar hamburger. We were on our way back home, tried to put the landing gear down. The light didn't come on. My buddy looked out the back, noticed that the right wheel didn't come down. The front wheel did, the left main did.
We basically circled for about three and a half hours, burning off fuel, going through all the emergency procedures. At one point my buddy was hanging out of the window trying to knock the wheel down with a tow bar. My other buddy was in the back, ripping out carpet, trying to take out panels from the plane. I was doing steep turns, stalls, I was flipping the plane trying to get gravity and wind to pull it down. Tried everything we could.
Meanwhile, a bunch of the media helicopters, all the southern California local news helicopters gathered all around us. It was all over the news. All my friends kind of figured out it was me. Finally ended up having to land at John Wayne Airport with just two wheels. The right side landing gear wouldn't come down. Basically bellied it in, once the air (inaudible) bled off, skidded off the runway, hit a sign.
We jumped out, were dancing around. We all got interviewed on the news. Turned out to be a pretty crazy, fun night. But there was definitely some tense moments.
Q: Too bad with all that publicity you didn't have a sponsor to hang on the side of the airplane.
Rocky Moran Jr: That would have been perfect (laughter).
Q: When did this happen?
Rocky Moran Jr: This happened I think about January 10th, roughly.
Q: Sigma Auto Sport, the team in the CART series came off the big podium finish at Long Beach. I was talking to Max afterwards. He talked about the fact that he hoped the good run they had at Long Beach would just filter energy all the way through the team, including the Toyota Atlantic Series.
Rocky Moran Jr: Yeah, yeah. That's really cool. I thought it was awesome that they pulled a third out of Long Beach. They started pretty far down the grid. Had a good fuel strategy that got them up there. Once Max was up there, he did a good job of defending his position, especially considering he had Kenny Brack on him and I think some cars that were a bit quicker than him.
I think that's a really, really cool thing for the Champ car team in particular. I think that just boosted everyone's momentum for the rest of the season.
It's just cool because I think they're fourth in points. Although the Atlantic side hasn't been that stellar yet, we're sitting third in points. At least we have a good shot once we get our side of the thing going to jump up and try for the championship.
It always makes everyone happy to see Max doing good, too. It's pretty cool to be part of Atlantic, to be part of a Champ Car team and an Atlantic team. We're like the only team that's got that going right now. It's definitely a cool thing to be part of.
Q: Isn't it odd that one of the teams that is trying to get a foot hold in auto racing and quite frankly financially you're nowhere close to some of the front-runners, even in the Toyota Atlantic Series, but yet it's the only team that is fielding a car in both series.
Rocky Moran Jr: Yeah. I think you just have to attribute that to Tom Wieringa. It's kind of been his vision to pull something off like this. He wants to prove that the ladder series does work. I just hope that some of the other CART team owners that didn't think they had enough money to do it can realize they probably can do it if they go for it. Hopefully Tom is kind of paving the path for that.
It's one of the most important things about CART is to make sure that the Toyota Atlantic Series works and the champions of Toyota Atlantic get lodged into Champ Car. I think what he's doing is great. It's definitely taking its toll. Financially it's a very hard thing to pull off. Tom is working double overtime to make it happen. I definitely support him in that. I think it's pretty cool.
Q: Does that make you work harder knowing that Tom is having to work as hard as he is?
Rocky Moran Jr: I work to my best ability no matter what, I really do. But it's cool to be surrounded by a group of people that have the same mentality and, you know, are working that hard. It's really, really neat.
Q: Rocky, can you talk a little about how you came up in motorsports? Obviously you come up in a racing family. Did that influence you to race or is he like many dads that let you decide on your own?
Rocky Moran Jr: He completely brainwashed me (laughter). Basically he put me on a little ATC when I was about two years old, then I had a go-kart when I was three. I was definitely playing around on toys just for the fun of it before I really knew what was going on.
As I grew up, he honestly wasn't one of those little league dads that forced it on me. We've always had a good relationship. I was always competitive in all the sports I played, just really took a liking to go-karting.
He obviously raced in the GTP and Indy car era. I always thought it was really neat all the racing he did. Basically started go-karting when I was 10 years old. Just absolutely loved it, totally enjoyed it, it was my favorite thing to do. I did it up until the time I was about 14.
My dad really helped me to get into motorsports when I was young, in the open-wheel stuff in particular. I was going to the Skip Barber School and Barber Dodge Pro Series at 14. Ended up running Barber Dodge from 1996 to 1999, three and a half seasons. Then I got an opportunity to move up to the Toyota Atlantic Series the second half of the '99 season and have been here ever since.
You know, basically everything I've done has pretty much been over here in the US in the CART-sanctioned feeder series.
Q: Jon, how about your background other than your family is into wine, which is always interesting to me?
Jon Fogarty: I've always been into any sort of speed sport really. I wasn't raised in a motorsport family. I did like Rocky, had an ATC-70. Broke a good number of bones riding that thing. I was into BMX racing when I was real young, too, five or six years old. Got into motorcross when I was a kid. I raced 80s over at Bay Lands Raceway in the Bay Area for a few years.
Really didn't have much of an avenue into auto racing. I was pretty much just living a normal life as a kid until my brother got into auto racing, my oldest brother Tommy. In high school, he convinced my parents to put me through the Skip Barber system. I went through the school when I was about 15 and actually didn't start racing again until my freshman year of college where I started racing Formula Vs in the West Coast racing team. I did pretty well there. Then went into the Skip Barber system full-time. Did two years in their two-liter series. Joined with the pro series, raced with Rocky for a couple years. Then Indy Lights last year. Now I'm here in the Toyota Atlantic Series.
Q: Seems like both you guys speak to the success of the CART ladder system.
Jon Fogarty: The Skip Barber series, the pro series is pretty darn effective building your skills, not necessarily your skills, but you have to put in so much effort there because it's so competitive and everything is so closely matched. Yeah, I have to attribute a lot to that.
Rocky Moran Jr: I think like 40 percent of our field is Barber Dodge guys right now, like a reunion class.
Rocky Moran Jr: It is. It's pretty cool.
Anne Roy: Thank you very much, Jon, Rocky, members of the media. Thank you for joining us this afternoon. We will all see you soon.
Fograty, Moran , part I