Barre, VT -- Kelly Moore and the NAPA Auto Parts team endured a tough evening at Thunder Road International Speedbowl on Saturday where Moore encountered a drive train failure, which relegated his Bill Dodge Auto Group Monte Carlo to a 21st...
Barre, VT -- Kelly Moore and the NAPA Auto Parts team endured a tough evening at Thunder Road International Speedbowl on Saturday where Moore encountered a drive train failure, which relegated his Bill Dodge Auto Group Monte Carlo to a 21st place finish. It marked the second did-not-finish for the Scarborough, ME native, a statistic very uncommon to the 1995 NASCAR Busch North Series champion.
"We had a really good practice session today, this is by far the best Busch car I've ever had at Thunder Road," commented Moore. "I was pretty anxious to post a good qualifying run, especially since we had such a good draw but I messed the lap up. We still got a good starting spot, but it could've been better if the driver didn't mess things up."
Moore ended up 10th fastest overall for the day and started the race in row five, on the outside groove, not the place to be on a small, tight short track such as Thunder Road.
With only five races remaining, and just two short tracks, it was important for the Maine Lubrication Services/Shell Rotella T Team to stay focused and bring the car home in one piece, and a top-5 finish.
"Our team is still focused on winning the 2003 championship, the game is not over yet and we're going to take things one race at a time and race the track, not the competitors," Moore said.
During the 150-lap race, Moore was not happy with the handling on the car from the onset. The team pitted on lap 48 to make some minor adjustments which helped somewhat but still the car was not handling as well as it did during the afternoon practice sessions.
The veteran battled his way back up through the field and into the top-10 but took advantage of another caution period on lap 79 to make some additional improvements.
"Just past the halfway point and with only half the field on the lead lap, it seemed like the right call to make and it certainly helped the chassis," said Moore.
It didn't take long for Moore to find his way into the top-10 and then began challenging for a spot in the top-5. The adjustments were paying huge dividends and the race strategy appeared to be a solid decision as the team looked on anxiously as Moore meticulously fought his way to the front. With fewer than twenty laps to go, Moore shot under Dale Quarterly to take another spot on the grid when the drive train let go and Moore's evening was over.
"We haven't had many failures this year but it's hard to see both of your teams have difficulty in the same race," said Moore. Teammate Ryan Moore suffered an engine failure and finished 24th for the evening. The two teammates took a hit in the point standings as well, with Kelly falling to fourth overall and Ryan dropping to ninth.
"The team is going to work hard over the next two weeks and prepare for a solid run at New Hampshire and get back into the thick of the point standings battle," said Moore.
The NASCAR Busch North Series returns to New Hampshire International Speedway on September 13 for its final visit of the 2003 season.