Two Moore Busch North Racers In 2003
By DAVE MOODY
After a single season on the New England Dodge American-Canadian Tour, 19-year-old second generation driver Ryan Moore says he’s ready to move.
After an off-season filled with speculation about his plans - a return to ACT, a move to the PASS Pro Stock Series, or even a jump to the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring ranks - Moore announced this week that he will join his father behind the wheel of a Busch North car this season.
“There are a number of reasons why we felt that Ryan should move up to the Busch North Series,” said his father, former Busch North Champion Kelly Moore. “The most important aspect is the ability to attract sponsors. We have the racing equipment that he needs to be competitive, and the experience he’ll gain will benefit him in his transition to a full-time racing career.”
Ryan Moore’s career has always closely followed the footsteps laid by his father; beginning in go-karts and continuing through the Late Model ranks at the Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway, and on to ACT. Now, Moore will drive a Chevrolet Monte Carlo out of his father’s stable in Scarborough, Maine. Dave Davis of Northeast Metal Fabrication is preparing new chassis for the new team, a new crew and crewchief are being sought and sponsorship for the team is also being sought.
“I love every aspect of racing, both on and off the track,” said the younger Moore. “Stepping up to the Busch North Series is another challenge that I’m looking forward to, and have been anticipating for several years.”
Prior to beginning his inaugural Busch North Series season, Moore will compete in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, February 7-15 at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.
While Moore adds his name to the 2003 Busch North roster, longtime series stalwart Tracy Gordon is moving on. Confirming what we first reported here nearly two months ago, the Strong, Maine, veteran announced this week that he will team with BG Motorsports for a full season of ASA racing in 2003. Gordon will drive the #45 Red Line Oil-sponsored Pontiac in search of ASA Rookie of the Year honors, beginning March 22 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida.
“I’m hoping we can secure some additional sponsorship, allowing our team to operate at a very competitive level,” said Gordon, who won 11 races in his Busch North career -- including last year’s September event at New Hampshire International Speedway - and finished fifth in the 2003 points. “After racing in two ASA events last season, I think I know what to expect. Our goals are to capture the Rookie of the Year honors, and finish top-five in the standings.”
“I feel BG Motorsports has a driver capable of winning a championship in ASA in the next two years,” said Tom Granelli, Vice President of BG Motorsports. “Tracy is a fierce competitor with a solid racing background. We expect him to win in 2003.”
Gordon made two ASA starts with BG Motorsports last season, finishing 16th at Berlin (MI) Raceway in July, then recording a 13th-place finish in the season finale at Winchester.
Phil Scott carried home the lion’s share of awards Saturday night, from the 2002 ACT New England Dodge Tour Awards Banquet at the Sheraton/Burlington Hotel. In addition to his first career ACT Dodge Tour title, Scott also captured both the Thunder Road and Airborne Raceway Late Model track championships.
Other divisional champions honored Saturday night included Craig Bushey (Airborne Tiger Sportsman, Subway Tiger Series), Joe Steffen (Thunder Road Tiger Sportsman), Brendan Moodie, Jr. (Thunder Road Allen Lumber Street Stocks), Jamie Rabideau (Airborne Street Stocks), Dan Ryea (Airborne Renegades) and Ryan Nolin (ACT Tri-State Street Stock Series).
The inaugural Eddie Carroll Street Stock Sportsmanship Award, created in memory of the former ACT pit steward and flagman, was presented to Thunder Road Street Stock veteran "Super Joe" Fecteau. Herb Drugg and Steffen split the Sportsmanship honors in the Late Model and Tiger Sportsman ranks, while Roxbury’s Tim Martin and Pete Ainsworth, Jr. of Middlesex claimed the Late Model and Tiger Sportsman “Most Improved” honors.
ACT President Tom Curley presented Dave McMaster of Butler & MacMaster Automotive in Hallowell, Maine - implementers of ACT’s successful “spec engine” program -- with the Don MacTavish Award for his contributions to the sport. Former ACT, Thunder Road and Airborne Late Model champion Dave Whitcomb was presented with the Francis "Bubby" Wilder Award for dedication to short track racing, while the Ken Squier Award for excellence in promoting motorsports went to WCAX TV-3 cameraman Steve Longchamp. Ryan Nolin was the recipient of the "Doc" Nielsen award for top achievement by a rookie.
The Northeast Drivers Association is dead. The group, formed after the Riverside (NH) Speedway dropped its weekly Late Model program at the midpoint of the 2001 campaign, sanctioned a limited slate of 10 races at Riverside and the Canaan (NH) asphalt track last season. However, a series of caution-plagued events, and an ownership change at Canaan, left the group without a home for 2003.
Aaron Bennett, Race Director for NEDA, informed the group’s members recently that after "not hearing back from any tracks (about) dates in 2003, NEDA has got to fold.” In addition, Bennett announced the cancellation of the group’s scheduled January 25 Banquet of Champions, saying, “with NEDA folding, we may not get enough responses to cover the cost."
Bennett also released a letter from Riverside Speedway General
Manager Marvin Galarneau, who said NEDA events had proven too costly, and
produced too many delays in the track’s weekly race program. “Attendance for
NEDA events was down an average of six percent from non-NEDA races,” Galarneau
said. “The (NEDA) program is simply too costly for Riverside Speedway.”
Canaan, which was recently purchased by Bear Ridge Speedway owner C.V. Elms, III, will host weekly Late Model racing this season under the direction of CARR; Canaan Auto Racers for Racers. With that new group in place, NEDA would be redundant, at best.
NEDA’s website says Bennett approached three other tracks about hosting NEDA events in 2003, but received no response.
NASCAR has delivered the details on a new policy designed to limit the number of fans on pit road. The policy, which goes into effect next month at Daytona, will feature special "hot passes" for drivers, crewmembers, media and other authorized personnel, allowing them to remain in the garage during practice, qualifying, and the race itself. All others will be banned from the garage and pit road during these times.
The new restrictions will begin 30 minutes prior to any scheduled on-track activity, and will end approximately 10 minutes afterward. At other times, the garage will be designated “cold,” and fans with “cold” passes will be allowed. Pit road will be designated “hot” from 30 minutes prior to the start of a race until the event’s conclusion. Large, red strobe lights will be erected in each track’s garage area to signify hot times.
“Our goal is simple; to reduce the number of people in the garage and in the pits,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR Vice President for Corporate Communications. “We want to significantly reduce the number of people.”
NASCAR also announced Tuesday that it will not institute a proposed ban on autographs in the garage area, believing the newly announced “hot” and “cold” restrictions will reduce the number of autograph-seekers during these critical times. NASCAR will continue to monitor the new policy as the season unfolds, and will make changes as needed.
In other NASCAR news, officials said this week that there could be major changes on the 2004 Winston Cup schedule. Some established tracks could lose one of their two dates, while newer speedways in larger markets are awarded races for the first time. NASCAR spokespersons said the sanctioning body would not mandate the changes itself, but would allow track owners to move events that aren't selling out to other tracks. NASCAR Chief Executive Officer Bill France, Jr., confirmed that some races may be shifted to new venues, mentioning the new tracks in Nashville and St. Louis as prime candidates. France named Atlanta, Charlotte, Darlington, and Rockingham has tracks that could lose a race, suggesting that Speedway Motorsports Inc., Chairman Bruton Smith could get the second date he wants at Texas Motor Speedway, simply by moving an event from Atlanta or Charlotte.
NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne said the sanctioning body will "talk more proactively than ever before" with track operators about moving races next year, in an effort to distribute the 36-race schedule more efficiently around the country.
Short (Track) Subjects…
…Second-generation driver Jonathan Urlin will compete in the 2003 Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series. Urlin, son of former American-Canadian Tour champion Russ Urlin, raced last season on the Formula Ford 2000 circuit, finishing third in the final championship standings.
"Jonathan's family has a long history of excellence in
Canadian racing," said Urlin’s team owner, Brian Stewart. "His
father was a well-known Canadian stock car racer, and I'm pleased that Jonathan
has chosen to race in the Infiniti Pro Series as part of his 'Road to Indy.’”
"I'm really excited," said the 20-year old Urlin. "Infiniti Pro is the series to be in if you're going to move up to the next level.”
…Officials at the newly named Canaan Fair Speedway have announced that the New England Dwarf Car Association will play a major role in the track’s 2003 asphalt campaign. The NEDCA will be a part of the track’s season opener on May 10, with four other visits scheduled throughout the year.
"The dwarf cars are a very exciting addition to our schedule," said Bob Stanhope, Operations Manager for the track’s new sanctioning body; CARR - Canaan Auto Racers for Racers." "I have watched these cars at a number of tracks in New England, and they scream at speeds over 100 mph. Having the season opener is a bonus for the series, the track, and the fans."
…Busch North Series regular Martin Truex, Jr., is among the drivers who will benefit from a new team fielded by Teresa Earnhardt. The team -- called Chance 2 - will field a #8 Chevrolet in a series of NASCAR Busch Series races this season, with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driving the car twice at Daytona and once at Talladega. Steve Park will fill the seat in five races, with Truex scheduled for five additional starts. The team will also enter a #81 Chevy in three Winston Cup events this season; with drivers Jason Keller (Chicagoland) and Ron Fellows (Watkins Glen, Sears Point).
…Jimmy Spencer has restarted his Busch Series team, which had lain dormant since 2001 due to a lack of sponsorship. Spencer, who drove James Finch’s Busch cars in 2001 and 2002, is searching for a half-season sponsorship. Barring that, the Pennsylvania native said he will run as many races as he can afford.
…Hermie Sadler will drive the No. Toys "R" Us Busch Series Chevrolet for Team Bristol Motorsports in 2003. Sadler has over 200 career Busch Series starts, with two wins and three Bud Poles. He has also made 10 Winston Cup starts. He replaces Kevin Grubb, who was released recently.
…Derrike Cope’s hair-regeneration commercials are getting heavy rotation on cable TV these days. What next? Free ice cream! The 1990 Daytona 500 champion has signed the Friendly’s restaurant chain to sponsor his Quest Motor Racing #37 Chevrolet in what is being called “the majority of NASCAR Winston Cup races” this season, beginning with next month’s Daytona 500.
Cope is one of just eight active drivers to have won a Daytona 500. He has two career Winston Cup victories, having followed his 1990 Daytona win with one at Dover, Delaware, that same year.
…Ken Schrader and the BAM Racing team have secured a six-race primary sponsorship deal with 1-800-CALL ATT, with the collect calling brand serving as associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. The six races include next month’s Daytona 500, along with events at Darlington, Bristol, Talladega, Martinsville, and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July.
“We paid our dues last year, and that is starting to pay off for us,” said BAM Racing co-owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. “We have been building and fine-tuning our race team, on and off the track. (This) is a tremendous step in the right direction for us.”
…In other sponsorship news, Stacker 2 and Stamina RX will sponsor Scott Wimmer’s Bill Davis Racing-owned NASCAR Busch Series entry in 2003. Wimmer finished third in the final 2002 standings, despite running the majority of the season without sponsorship. Stacker 2 will serve as the primary sponsor of the car for the first half of the season, with Stamina Rx adorning the quarterpanels beginning with the Pepsi 400 in July.
…Former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach are looking to become team owners on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, as early as 2004. The two are partners in Hall of Fame Racing, which will be directed by former Trans-Am driver Bill Saunders, who will act as managing partner.
"Roger and I have discussed this for a while, and all the pieces just came together,” said Aikman. “We're not naive going into this thing. We recognize it will be a real challenge." The team currently has no shop, equipment, driver, or sponsors. The operation will be headquartered in Dallas, but will maintaining a race shop in the hub of NASCAR racing, Charlotte, NC.
…The glitterati are coming to SpeedWeek.
Academy Award nominated actor John Travolta is slated to give
the command to start engines as Grand Marshal for the 45th annual Daytona 500.
Travolta, who earned Oscar nominations for his performances in "Saturday
Night Fever" and "Pulp Fiction," will deliver the traditional “Gentlemen,
start your engines” command for the 45th running of the Great American Race on
Sunday, February 16. He will be joined on pit road by Grammy Award-winning
artist Mariah Carey, who will kick off the festivities by singing the National