MOORE READY FOR ELKHART CHALLENGE Player's/Forsythe driver was fastest at Mid-Ohio test last week but hasn't finished at Road America by John Oreovicz Unlike a year ago, Greg Moore is looking forward to getting to grips with the road course...
MOORE READY FOR ELKHART CHALLENGE
Player's/Forsythe driver was fastest at Mid-Ohio test last week but hasn't finished at Road America by John Oreovicz
Unlike a year ago, Greg Moore is looking forward to getting to grips with the road course portion of the FedEx Championship Series schedule. The drivability problems that plagued the '98 Mercedes-Benz engine on road courses have been reduced by engine-builder Ilmor Engineering, and a concentration on road course testing by the Player's/Forsythe team has Moore believing he can win on any kind of track in 1999. For starters, there's this weekend's Texaco/Havoline 200 at the demanding Road America track near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Moore has tested well at Road America this summer, and he was fastest in the recent Mid-Ohio CART open test.
"Of all the tracks we race on, I would say Elkhart Lake is the purest of all road courses," Moore says. "Man -- four miles long... the Carousel... the kink... extremely demanding. But it's not only challenging because of those two turns. The slow turns, like Turn 3 or the last turn coming onto the main straight, are critical as well. "The track is so long that it will change in the middle of a race," Moore continues. "Turns 1 and 2 might be slippery early on but might pick up grip as the race goes on. Then down in the valley, some dew comes in or some mist comes in, and it changes the track down there. You've gotta be on your toes no matter where you're at on that circuit." Moore was attempting to run the race at Elkhart in 1998 with one fewer pit stop than eventual winner Dario Franchitti. He believes he was on track for the win before his Mercedes/Reynard developed a gearbox problem.
In fact, Greg has never finished in three starts at Elkhart. His most spectacular exit came in 1996, when he tangled with Andre Ribeiro near the 200-mph kink and skillfully rode out a wild, bucking ride in which his Player's car nearly was launched airborne. Moore believes that Road America's four-mile lap length makes for some strategic challenges. "Fuel strategy is a concern anywhere you go, but at Road America you're using 2-3 gallons a lap," Moore comments. "You've got to be just right on your fuel strategy, because you have to decide what lap you're going to aim for and pit on that lap, or else you're not going to make it around again." Currently fifth in the PPG Cup chase, 43 points behind leader Juan Montoya, Moore realizes that a top finish at Elkhart Lake is crucial to his championship hopes. "We've had some bad luck there," Moore says. "I think maybe that place owes us one."