Greg Moore ... A champion on and off the race track
Although today is a national holiday in 'Halloween,' let's also take a moment to remember a fallen racer, taken well before his time.
Greg Moore was as much a champion off the track as he was on the track. No matter the circumstances he was someone who was humble, jovial, and always had a smile on his face, but once that visor was closed he was as fierce as they come. That character carried through his peers and it continues even in today’s IndyCar.
How it all began
The Canadian born driver began racing go karts in 1986, and in 1989 and 1990 he won the North American Enduro Kart Racing Championship. He then moved on to win Rookie of the Year in the Esso Protec Formula 1600 series and finishing 4th overall in the points. 1992 saw Moore claim the USAC Pro Formula Ford 2000 Championship and Rookie of the Year title with four wins and four poles.
Indy Lights success
The first season in the Indy Lights Series, fans got a peak of what Greg Moore was capable of. In 1994 at Phoenix International Raceway, he became the youngest driver to hold a pole position and win. However, it was the 1995 season that the youngster broke out and hit his stride. Moore claimed seven poles and ten wins in twelve races (including five consecutive), along with leading 375 out of a possible 583 total laps en route to winning the Indy Lights Championship and becoming the all-time winner of the series.
Forsythe Racing brought in the young talent as a rookie in the CART Series in 1996. Moore had tough competition for the Rookie of the Year title, finishing runner-up to winner Alex Zanardi. By 1997 the pride of New Westminster would hold another youngest winners accomplishment, taking home the trophy at the Milwaukee Mile (at 22 years, 1 month, 10 days old – the record held until 2001), he also won at Detroit the following week. At Homestead the following year he grabbed the pole and went on to stand atop the podium at Rio de Janeiro and the U.S. 500.
1999 promise and tragic end
It was in 1999 that #99 seemed poised to fulfill his potential in the series. He opened up the season with a pole and a win at Homestead. He ran well and led the championship for the first few races. At the season finale in the Marlboro 500 at California Speedway, it would be Greg Moore’s last race. The world lost a great star and a future champion in a vicious accident. He would have opened the following season at Penske Racing, but upon his death the seat was filled by Helio Castroneves. In light of the sportsmanship and character of Greg Moore the series came up with the Greg Moore Legacy Award.
“Greg is the reason you see drivers get on so well before the race and still race each other hard on the track. He’s the guy who taught all of us that you can race a guy on the track and still be friends at the end of the day." - Dario Franchitti
- 5 CART Wins
- 12 CART Podiums
- 1995 Indy Lights Champion
- Forever in our hearts
Joey Barnes is the co-founder of Tribute Racing and a contributor to Motorsport.com
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