Moore disappointed with 17th place finish at Watkins Glen Watkins Glen, NY - Kelly Moore, driver of the Tic-Tac Pontiac Grand Prix, finished 17th Saturday afternoon during the Pepsi 150 Busch North Series, a NASCAR Touring Division, event at...
Moore disappointed with 17th place finish at Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen, NY - Kelly Moore, driver of the Tic-Tac Pontiac Grand Prix, finished 17th Saturday afternoon during the Pepsi 150 Busch North Series, a NASCAR Touring Division, event at Watkins Glen International Speedway. The nationally televised race ended in controversy due to a late race mishap that damaged the front running cars of Moore and Jerry Marquis. Kim Baker was awarded his first Busch North Series victory after Brad Bennett was penalized by NASCAR race officials.
After finishing a disappointing 41st at New Hampshire last weekend, the Tic-Tac team was pumped up for the first of two annual Busch North Series road course races. "Our goal coming to Watkins Glen was to come out of here with a good top-5 finish", Moore said. The team qualified in the 9th position and during Friday's long practice session felt they had a car capable of staying in the hunt for the win on Saturday. "Our game plan didn't really change all day, the car was good and I was real content in waiting for an opportunity to challenge for a win," said Moore.
At the drop of the green flag, Moore was shuffled back several spots after Dale Quarterly failed to get off to a good start, Moore and others quickly took evasive action to get around the slowed car. Polesitter Ricky Craven led the first lap, then got out-braked by Bryan Wall as the two entered turn 1 and lost the lead. Moore slowly climbed back into the top-10 as Wall and Bennett swapped the lead up front.
Pit stop strategy played an important role in the race as most teams pitted for fuel during early race restarts or caution periods on laps 25 through 31. Moore pitted early for a full can of gas and began his battle to the front. The race was slowed by 8 caution periods for a total of 26 laps. "I wasn't pleased to see that many cautions, but this track is so tough on you physically that your glad to have a break every once in awhile", Moore explained.
The Tic-Tac team was back into the top-5 with only twenty laps to go and Moore was poised for a fine top-5 finish. Moore shot by Jerry Marquis during the last caution period restart to take over the 3rd spot. After the restart, Wall and Craven got a good run on the rest of the field and began to put pull away from Moore, Bennett, Marquis and Baker. Within a few circuits, Moore was back on the doorstep and knocking on the door when Wall and Craven got together in turn 1.
Moore assumed the lead, with Bennett and Marquis in tow. As the two cars shot up the hill onto the backstretch, Bennett bumped the Pontiac of Moore. As Moore and Bennett entered turn 11, Bennett shot down to the inside of Moore and hit his Pontiac. Moore spun to the inside while Bennett drove hard to the left and assumed the front position. The spin also collected the car of Marquis. Both heavily damaged cars were able to finish the race, though Moore was scored as one lap down. On lap 61, Bennett was shown the "black flag" by NASCAR officials and was later penalized one full lap.
"We're not real happy with the events that occurred today," a dejected Moore explained. "I had a real good car at the end of the race today, we worked real hard to stay in the top-5 and I'm real happy with the job our entire team did this weekend. We're heading to tracks like Star, Jennerstown and New Hampshire where we usually perform well and we'll get our team back in this points battle." Moore and his team will have their work cut out for them over the next several weeks as they continue their efforts to repair two damaged cars. The Busch North Series will make an appearance at Star Speedway in Epping, NH on August 15th.