Moreno to Substitute for Terry Labonte In Doran Labonte Racing's Loctite Pontiac No. 44 At Barber Motorsports Park July 29-31 LEBANON, Ohio, July 22 - The driver they call "Super Sub," Roberto Moreno, has just gotten the call to fill in for a ...
Moreno to Substitute for Terry Labonte In Doran Labonte Racing's Loctite Pontiac No. 44 At Barber Motorsports Park July 29-31
LEBANON, Ohio, July 22 - The driver they call "Super Sub," Roberto Moreno, has just gotten the call to fill in for a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver.
The twist is that when he subs this time, he'll be strapping into a DORAN JE4 Daytona Prototype that competes in the Grand American Rolex series.
Moreno recently got the call to join NASCAR star Bobby Labonte behind the wheel of Doran Labonte Racing's Loctite/Henkel DORAN JE4 Pontiac No. 44 for the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant Rolex series race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. July 29-31.
Moreno is substituting for Terry Labonte, who will miss this race in order to be at Gateway International Speedway near St. Louis for a NASCAR Busch series event.
Terry Labonte is still slated to co-drive with his brother at the CompUSA 200 Rolex series race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Aug. 11.-12 prior to the NASCAR Busch series and NEXTEL Cup races there Aug. 13-14.
(Both Labonte brothers are slated to drive in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Aug. 7. Terry Labonte only has two more NEXTEL Cup races on his 2005 schedule after that as he winds down his part-time "Shifting Gears - Lone Star Style" season.)
Moreno got his nickname "Super Sub" after posting impressive finishes in the late nineties while substituting for injured CART champ car drivers such as Mark Blundell and a driver he'll be racing against at Barber Motorsports Park, fellow Brazilian Christian Fittipaldi. Now based in Weston, Fla., Moreno finished a career-best third in the CART championship in 2000, winning at Cleveland that year. He earned his second career CART victory in 2001 at Vancouver, British Columbia, and he has over 100 career champ car starts.
One of the most interesting stories about Moreno's pinch-hitting comes from the world of Formula 1 racing, however. Moreno, who finished tenth in the Formula 1 World Championship in both 1990 and 1991, had the biggest break in his racing career when he got the call at the last minute to join his long-time friend, Nelson Piquet, on the Benetton team for the last two races of 1990. Moreno was to substitute for Alessandro Nannini, who had been badly injured in a helicopter crash.
The first of those races was the Japanese Grand Prix. Piquet won, and even though it was his first race with that team Moreno finished second, giving Benetton its first one-two finish in F1 racing.
"I'd always been with under-funded teams, and we never had enough money to do well," Moreno recalled. "I'd only qualified for four races that year, and I'm sure there were people who thought I'd never finish. But it was the first one-two finish for Benetton ever and it also was two Brazilians finishing first and second. They gave me a contract after that, so really my biggest break ever in my career came in my very first race when I was substituting for someone."
Everyone on the Doran Labonte Racing team would be thrilled with similar results at Barber Motorsports Park as Moreno substitutes on that team for the first time.
Although it will be Moreno's first time driving a DORAN JE4, it's not the first time he's driven a Daytona Prototype. He's been doing selected races for Bob Ward in a Spirit of Daytona Racing Crawford Pontiac this year, and he's looking forward to comparing the two chassis.
"I'm really looking forward to the race," Moreno said. "I'm very pleased that Kevin Doran invited me to drive. I wasn't planning to do any other Rolex series races this year other than Phoenix. I was available, and it all worked out.
"I've never driven at Barber Motorsports Park before, and I'm looking forward to learning another circuit and comparing the cars," he added. "With Kevin I'm sure we'll have a good result.
"We talked a lot about doing races together, but the finances never came together," Moreno added. "I'm also looking forward to seeing how the team operates, because it has a reputation for being very professional."
Moreno said he's also looking forward to meeting Bobby Labonte.
"I've heard a lot about him, and I'm excited to drive with him because he's very famous," he said. "I may be known in Europe, but nothing like the NASCAR drivers are known in America. NASCAR is certainly the biggest series here."
A test day is slated for Thursday, July 28 before the official weekend schedule gets underway on Friday, July 29. The Daytona Prototypes can practice from 9:40 a.m. until 11:10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. that day. Another hour of practice is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 30, and then an autograph session will be held at 11:30 a.m. The DPs will qualify in a 15-minute session at 1:15 p.m. that day.
A 15-minute warm-up is slated for 9:40 a.m. on race day, Sunday, July 31, and then the 250-mile/109-lap/two-hour-and-45-minute race is scheduled to start at noon.
The race is scheduled to be televised on SPEED beginning at 1 p.m. ET that day.
For more information, please see doranracing.com and loctite.com. Bobby Labonte's Web site is at bobbylabonte.com, and information on Terry Labonte can be found at hendrickmotorsport.com.
Other interesting information can be found at grandamerican.com, barbermotorsports.com, speedtv.com and restartcommunications.com.