Flat Tire Relegates Kelly Moore to Fifteenth at NHIS After Leading The Most Laps (Loudon, N.H. - Sept. 20, 2004) - Kelly Moore said before the start of the Sylvania 125, the third from final NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series...
Flat Tire Relegates Kelly Moore to Fifteenth at NHIS After Leading The Most Laps
(Loudon, N.H. - Sept. 20, 2004) - Kelly Moore said before the start of the Sylvania 125, the third from final NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race of the 2004 season, that he wasn't interested in leading a bunch of laps if that meant sacrificing his car's performance near the end of the race. But during the running of the race, which was postponed to Monday after getting rained out on Saturday, he took his NAPA Auto Parts of Maine/Bill Dodge Auto Group Chevrolet to the front of the 38-car field and led the most laps, just like he did in July at the same track. But while running second, a cut tire forced him to pit with just 24 laps left to run, leaving him fifteenth at the finish.
"If that race car will go, if you can keep a race car underneath me, I'll lead as many laps as I can and win races," he said after the race. "I have to go, I can't sit back there and play possum. When that green flag drops, I'm going to the front. I've been taught one way and one way only, and that's to go to the front, and that's what I do. Getting out front and leading didn't hurt us any today, but what did hurt us was a flat tire."
The long weekend for the Busch North competitors began on Thursday with practice and qualifying. Moore, ninth in the morning practice session, improved to fifth in qualifying with a fast lap of 123.502 MPH.
"We chased the track during practice, which I guess everybody had to, and we wound up being the fifth best guesser at what the track was going to do," he said. "I think we've got a real good car for the race. The car was real solid practicing, even though we had to chase the track a little bit. We made a lot of changes and went in a different direction for this race. I had to get my old crew chief Steve Sullivan out of retirement because Jamie Lorfano's been home sick this week. Steve and I have worked real good together in the past, and we're working together well this weekend once we knocked the rust off him a little bit. He's come to the front, stood up and led the crew real well."
It only took Moore four laps to move from fifth to second behind early leader Paul Wolfe. Seven laps later, he swept under Wolfe going into the first turn and came away from that with the race lead. Three laps later, Wolfe retook the lead but couldn't shake the winningest driver in Busch North history.
Following the competition caution and a round of pit stops starting on lap 35, Moore took the restart on lap 41 and quickly mounted another challenge for the lead. He and Wolfe ran side-by-side for the top spot for two laps before Moore had the lead to himself, though he soon had another challenger in his mirror in the form of Mike Gallo.
Moore withstood a pair of passing attempts by Gallo on laps 76 and 80, but had to give up the lead on lap 82. He followed in Gallo's tire tracks until caution came on the speedway on lap 95. Moore hadn't planned on pitting, but those plans quickly changed.
"I felt a tire going down during that long green flag run, but I wasn't too sure if that was what the problem was," he explained. "The car started tightening up and it turns out that the right rear tire was going down and we had to give up second place to change it."
Returning to the race deep in the field and with few laps left to run, Moore made the best of the bad situation and went from 24th to fifteenth in the race's final twenty laps.
"It's not the finish that we wanted," he said. "I thought we had car enough to win the race, and if we didn't, it was still better than the 74 [Ryan Moore} which finished third, so we definitely would have had a top-three car. Could we have beat Andy Santerre? I think so, we'd already fended him off once. The 88 [Gallo] was leading, and I didn't want to run quite as hard as he was running at the time, and felt that we could regroup and come back if I could keep the tires underneath the car. The 88 was loose and I could see he was running his tires pretty hard, and I was a little bit tight but nothing I couldn't drive. Near the end of the race, when they were getting ready to pass out the checks, I figured we were going to be getting one of the bigger ones."
Moore will have just a few days to regroup before heading to Dover, Delaware, site of next Friday's MBNA America 150 on the high-banked concrete Dover International Speedway.
"I'm excited to go to Dover. We're bringing the same car to Dover because it's a real good race car. We've got a lot of changes to make to it in not a lot of time, but I didn't make for a lot of bodywork for the guys, and I'm sure they're happy about that. We'll go on to Dover and we'll have a good run there. We ran real good there last time we were there, finishing sixth, and I got real comfortable there during the race."