Kelly Moore recovers from late race spin to finish tenth Stafford Springs, CT - After a strong run in the season opener at Lee USA Speedway, Kelly Moore was optimistic about his chances of hitting victory lane at Stafford Motor Speedway. Moore...
Kelly Moore recovers from late race spin to finish tenth
Stafford Springs, CT - After a strong run in the season opener at Lee USA Speedway, Kelly Moore was optimistic about his chances of hitting victory lane at Stafford Motor Speedway. Moore and his NAPA Auto Parts/Bill Dodge Auto Group team have enjoyed considerable success at the infamous Connecticut race track over the years and on Friday evening the 1995 Busch North Series champion toughened it out to finish tenth overall.
Moore's Chevrolet was fast off the transporter, and he backed it up by posting the second fastest speed in qualifying. "We made some adjustments to our standard Stafford setup during practice, but overall this chassis has been successful for us here," commented Moore.
Martin Truex, Jr. had the fast car during qualifying and paced the field to the green flag with Moore in tow as the field entered turn one. The battle of the evening was for second, and it started on lap 2 as Mike Johnson and Paul Wolfe slipped under Moore, shuffling the NAPA Auto Parts driver back two spots to fourth. Moore settled in that spot, conscious of the fact that he needed to save his tires and brakes for the later part of the race.
"Goodyear built us a very good tire, however it took a few laps to build up enough heat in the tires to get a solid grip," said Moore. "We lost a few spots early, but our car really came in on the longer runs."
Just past the halfway point, the caution flag was thrown and a number of drivers opted to hit the pits for fresh tires. Moore elected to stay on the track with the top contenders. "Our car was too good at that point to give up the track position," Moore said. The Maine Lubrication Services Pit Crew did their research in the pits by hunting down tires that were changed in the pits and communicated to Moore how little tire wear there had been. This helped Moore and crew chief Jamie Lorfano make the final decision to stay on the track. Race leader Truex and second place Johnson also decided against pitting.
On the ensuing restart, Johnson spun the tires enough that he had to back off the throttle allowing Moore to get the preferred position entering turn one, moving Moore into the second spot. With the field bunched up, Tom Carey, Jr. got past Johnson and began to battle and bang with Moore in a fight for the second spot a few laps later.
With fewer than 50 laps to go, Carey shot past Moore, but Moore and Matt Kobyluck shuffled Carey back to fourth a few laps later. Kobyluck continued to battle with Moore for the second spot but Moore left him little space as the veteran covered the bottom perfectly. So, with less then 30 laps to go, Kobyluck decided to use a 'bump and run' tactic entering turn three, but the bump ended up being a very solid hit into the rear bumper of Moore, causing him to spin out. As the caution flag flew, Moore re-fired the car and joined the field.
"We had a good car here this evening, Martin was definitely the class of the field but it could've been a great battle for the second spot but Matt decided to push me out of the way," a dejected Moore explained. "I spoke with the officials after the event, and they said it was just
racing, that I slowed down too much entering the turn which enabled Matt to hit me. I guess he forgot where the brake pedal was."
Moore resumed racing, was able to pick up a few spots and finish in the tenth spot, his second top-10 finish in two events thus far. With the tenth place finish, Moore was able to hold onto the third spot overall in the point standings, just four points behind second place Joey McCarthy.
The NASCAR Busch North Series will head to Western Pennsylvania next weekend for its inaugural event at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, PA. The 150-lap feature event will also be taped by SPEED Channel and shown to a national audience on May 24.
Notes: The Stafford event was taped by SPEED Channel and will be shown on Monday, May 12 at 8pm.