Agawam, MA — Racing on a tight track for 150 laps with 25 veteran competitors can sometimes be an unmistakable comparison to a championship boxing match, toe-to-toe for 15 rounds. This scenario was played out Saturday evening at Riverside Park Speedway, where Kelly Moore put on a superb display of racing enroute to a 2nd place finish. The first top-5 finish for the Tic-Tac Pontiac Grand Prix team pushed Moore, the 1995 Busch Grand National North Series champion, up 14 spots to 13th in the championship point battle, a mere 88 points out of the top spot.For the 2nd consecutive week Moore was unable to crack the top-10 in qualifying, this evening he was 16th fastest among the 30-car field. Moore, the Busch North Series all-time Pole winner, has yet to display his qualifying expertise thus far in 1998. “Our qualifying has been just terrible,” Moore admitted. “I think I just ran the car too hard and I’m very fortunate that I didn’t end up in the qualifying race.” Moore and his team checked everything on the car after qualifying to ensure that nothing was wrong with the chassis setup. The team’s decision to forgo any changes paid great dividends as the Pontiac Grand Prix ran fast and consistent on long runs throughout the evening.
Within the first ten laps of the race, the evening’s first caution came out and nearly cost Moore his second DNF of the season. “There was a wreck in front on me and I checked up and got tapped from the rear,” explained Moore. “Then I looked to my left and there was another car hitting me, that tore up the left side and messed up our steering a little. We also had some sheet metal damage to the right side. But luck was with us and we stayed on the track to make sure the suspension was going to be ok.” Losing track position so early in the event would have been costly to the team and nearly impossible to make up at that juncture of the race.
The race ran caution free for the next 85 laps and during this time Moore’s Pontiac Grand Prix ran right to the front. “Our team did an outstanding job on our setup,” Moore said. “This car would run right down on the white line through both turns, something a lot of the drivers couldn’t do.” The two restarts during the final 50 laps hurt Moore, as his car wasn’t able to mount a challenge to eventual winner Tom Carey. “We really used up a lot of racecar coming up through the field,” remarked Moore. “Our car took a few laps after the restarts to loosen up and run faster, by that time we couldn’t get close to Tom. I really hated to see those last two cautions. My congratulations to Tom and his team, he ran a good, clean race and I’m happy to see him win his first Busch North Series race at his home track.”
The Busch North Series will race next at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH, on Saturday, May 9th. The 100-lap race at the 1-mile oval will be televised live beginning at 12pm on The Nashville Network (TNN).