Late-Race Accident Relegates Kelly Moore To Fifteenth At Dover (Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - Kelly Moore, driver of the No. 47 NAPA Auto Parts of Maine/Bill Dodge Auto Group Chevrolet on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series,...
Late-Race Accident Relegates Kelly Moore To Fifteenth At Dover
(Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - Kelly Moore, driver of the No. 47 NAPA Auto Parts of Maine/Bill Dodge Auto Group Chevrolet on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, had the best seat in the house to start Friday's MBNA America 150 at the one-mile Dover International Speedway. After starting on the pole and leading the first six laps, Moore's race slowly went downhill as he fell to ninth in the race's late running, then was involved in an accident on a late-race restart to force his retirement from the race, to be classified fifteenth in the final standings.
Thursday's on-track activity went well for Moore, whose crew was again led by Steve Sullivan as regular crew chief Jamie Lorfano is still recovering from an illness. Eighth in the first practice session and fourth in the second, Moore stepped up further for qualifying and put in the third best lap, at 24.601 seconds (146.336 MPH), in time trials.
"If the driver could have held the throttle down a little longer he might have put it on the pole," he said with a grin. "But we had a solid effort and I'm just so happy for these guys, they've been working real hard and they've been doing it without the crew chief that's usually guiding them. Steve's been doing a great job but he's had to get adjusted to their ways and they had to get adjusted to his ways. Everything's gone real well and we're real happy about it. We'll have a good race tomorrow. The car drives real good right now, and we're going to make one little adjustment on it in the morning and it should be a real good car for the race."
Moore got some more good news after qualifying, as polesitter Tim Andrews had to change engines after Thursday's final practice. Series rules require those who change engines during a race weekend to go to the tail of the field during pace laps, and the row that that driver had occupied move up before the start of the race. This put Moore on the pole for the race, which was run late Friday afternoon after NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying.
Moore took off with the lead at the start of the race, and led the first six laps before being passed by Paul Wolfe. As the laps clicked off, Moore felt the car tightening up, and the handling condition forced him to give up some more positions early. The leaders were setting a quick pace, putting many cars a lap down and Moore was one of those, falling off the leader's lap shortly before halfway during a long green-flag run.
Caution on lap 81 saw Moore join the rest of the field on pit road for four fresh tires and fuel, and the crew went to work to adjust on the car to improve its handling.
"The adjustment was made not knowing that I had pushed the left front fender in a little bit," he explained, "so when we made the adjustment and pulled the fender out, the car came alive, but we needed a little different adjustment because of the fender."
Fifteenth on the restart, Moore raced to the next caution on lap 99 and came in for that necessary additional adjustment. He returned to the track in fifteenth, but still had room to move up as cars from twelfth on back were also a lap down. He had worked his way up to ninth, still a lap down, with just a few laps left to run. The race was going to go beyond its scheduled distance due to a late caution, and that set up a green-white-checker finish.
"On that restart, the motor in the 74 car [Ryan Moore] died on him and started locking up, and it caused a big wreck," he said. "I looked up ahead and there were cars all sideways. I saw a hole down low and started going for it, but the 96 [Mike Johnson] bounced off the wall and got me. It wrecked the car pretty bad."
Moore drove the car to the Nextel Cup garage at the first turn end of pit road and retired from the event, classified in fifteenth.
"It's a shame we couldn't get to the finish," he said. "These guys worked really hard all weekend only to have a result like this."
There's one more race left in the 2004 Busch North season, which will take place next Saturday at the short track at Wall (N.J.) Township Speedway, where the series has never run before. A good run there will solidify Moore's bid to finish in the top five in series points for the third consecutive season and the thirteenth time in his eighteen-year Busch North career. For more information, visit www.mooreracing.com.