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Greg Moore (race car driver)

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Subject: October 31, 1975, List of Canadian sports personalities, List of people from British Columbia, New Westminster, Auto Club Speedway, Justin Wilson (racing driver), Grand Prix of Long Beach, Vanderbilt Cup, Dario Franchitti
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Greg Moore (race car driver)

Greg Moore
Nationality Canada Canadian
Born (1975-04-22)April 22, 1975
Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
Died October 31, 1999(1999-10-31) (aged 24)
California Speedway
Fontana, California, United States
Cause of death Racing accident
Achievements 1995 Indy Lights Champion

Gregory William Moore (April 22, 1975 – October 31, 1999) was a racecar driver who competed in the Indy Lights and CART World Series, where he had great success with several wins in both series and a championship in the 1995 Indy Lights series. However, his promising career and his life came to an abrupt end on October 31, 1999, when he was fatally injured in a violent crash on the tenth lap of the CART season finale, the Marlboro 500, at the California Speedway in Fontana, California.

Career biography

Origins and early career

Moore was born in New Westminster, British Columbia. He lived in Maple Ridge, a suburb of Vancouver, attending Meadowridge School and graduating from Pitt Meadows Secondary School.

His early racing career progressed through kart racing, winning the North American Enduro Kart Championships in 1989 and 1990. Moore also played ice hockey while growing up in and around Vancouver. He played on the same peewee team as future NHL star Paul Kariya. Moore was assigned the number 99 when he first started racing go-karts, and would later use the number on his racecar during his CART career. Although he was an ardent hockey fan, 99 was not connected with Wayne Gretzky's hockey number.

Moving up to Formula Ford cars in 1991, Moore was named the Esso Protec Formula Ford 1600 Rookie of the Year after winning one race and placing fourth in the overall championship. In 1992, he won four races and took four pole positions. He was the USAC Formula 2000 West Champion and Rookie of the Year.

The following year, Moore began racing in the Indy Lights circuit. Despite racing with an under-funded, family-run team, he placed ninth in the 1993 Indy Lights Championship. At the age of 18, Moore became the youngest driver ever to win a CART-sanctioned race when he won the 1994 Indy Lights season-opener at Phoenix. He won three Lights races in 1994 and finished third in the championship.

Moore joined the Player's Forsythe racing team and won the 1995 Indy Lights Championship with a spectacular record-setting season that saw him win 10 of 12 races, including five in a row. Moore's link with British American Tobacco through their Player's brand continued through much of his career. Player's was a popular sponsor in Canadian motorsport until the Canadian Federal Legislation banned tobacco advertising outright in 2003.

CART World Series career

1996 season

At the age of 20, Moore graduated to CART when the Player's Forsythe racing team promoted him to the top-level series. His rookie season included a second-place finish at Nazareth, third at Cleveland and fourth in Toronto. Greg finished 9th overall in the championship with 84 points and was runner-up to Alex Zanardi for the Jim Truman Rookie of the Year award.

1997 season

Moore started the 1997 season well, earning 2nd-place finishes at races in Surfers Paradise and the Rio 500.

At the 7th race of the season, Moore became the youngest driver in Indycar racing history at that time to win a race when he scored his first CART victory in June 1997 at Milwaukee at the age of 22, beating Michael Andretti by less than one second. Seven days later, Moore scored his 2nd career victory in an exciting and dramatic race at Detroit, where he started the final lap in 3rd place but passed both cars of the PacWest Racing team, when both Maurício Gugelmin and Mark Blundell ran out of fuel in front of him on the final lap. After those two races, Moore and his team struggled for the rest of the 1997 season, and finished 7th in the Championship with 111 points.

1998 season

At the start of the season Moore was paired with a teammate for the first time, fellow Canadian Patrick Carpentier and started the year strongly, with three top 5s in the first 4 races. The 5th race of the season at Rio de Janeiro, Moore diced and raced hard against Alex Zanardi, before a dramatic outside pass sealed the win. Later in the season, at Michigan he passed Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser on the last lap to win the US 500 and the Vanderbilt Cup award. This win was overshadowed by the deaths of three spectators in an earlier incident where a tire flew over the protective fencing and went into the grandstands. As in 1997, Moore's season tailed off in a series of retirements and poor finishes and he finished the year fifth overall with 141 points.

1999 season

The 1999 season started off very well for Moore, with a win at Homestead, his 5th career and final win in the CART series. He led the championship for the first few races, but an uncompetitive Mercedes engine, and poor results ensured that again he would not win the championship. As 1999 was the final year of his contract with Player's-Forsythe racing, he began to look at his options for the coming seasons. In the summer of 1999, Moore announced he had signed a contract to race in 2000 for one of the powerhouse teams, Penske Racing. Moore's agent was his friend, former Oakland Raiders running back Alan Miller, a well-known attorney in the motorsport field.

Death

On October 31, the 1999 Marlboro 500 at the Auto Club Speedway (then California Speedway) of Southern California was the final race of the CART FedEx Championship Series season, and was due to be Moore's final race with the Player's Forsythe racing team because of the deal with Penske Racing that would take effect in 2000. It was also a title-deciding race between Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti.

During the weekend before the race, Moore was knocked off his motor scooter by a paddock vehicle and injured his right hand. Unsure that he would be able to race, Player's-Forsythe hired Roberto Moreno as an emergency backup driver. After a medical consultation, and an in-car test, he was allowed to race using a hand brace, starting from the back of the grid because his team had missed qualifying.

Following an early race restart, on lap nine of the race, Moore lost control of his car in the exit of turn 2 and spun into the infield grass at more than 200 mph. His car hit an access road and was tripped over to strike the infield concrete wall sideways with the top of the car directly facing the wall at unabated speed. Moore was critically injured in the crash and was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The race continued and Adrian Fernandez won. At the pronouncement of Moore's death, the Auto Club Speedway ordered all track flags at half staff. Also, CART ordered that there would be no victory celebrations for either the race, or the newly decided championship. Player's Forsythe racing ordered their other driver, Patrick Carpentier, into the pits and retired Patrick's car mid-race (a traditional act by race teams with more than one car when one of their drivers dies). All other drivers were unaware of Moore's death until the end of the race. At the request of Moore's father, Ric Moore, the CART end-of-season awards banquet continued as scheduled on the following night, although its format was changed out of respect for the families of Moore and Gonzalo Rodríguez, another CART driver who was killed in a crash earlier in the season at Laguna Seca Raceway. Almost 6 laps before Moore's ill-fated lap, driver Richie Hearn had crashed in exactly the same location. The skidmark pattern was nearly identical, both drivers having struck the inside wall. Hearn walked away, and Moore did not. Moreover, a strong northerly wind was blowing that day, creating a cross wind down the backstretch where both incidents occurred.

Post accident

Moore was a well-liked driver by both racing fans and members of the CART racing community. Makeshift memorials were started at his former high school, Pitt Meadows, and at Greg's father's car dealership. The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in Toronto also had a small memorial with a condolence book for people to sign.

A private memorial service was held on November 3, 1999 at St. Andrews Wesley United Church in downtown Vancouver and was attended by 1,200 family members and close friends, including Dario Franchitti, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, and Jacques Villeneuve. Another public funeral service was held in Greg's hometown of Maple Ridge on November 4, 1999, and was attended by more than 1,500 people. The church was full and consequently a tent with TV screens and speakers was set up outside the church for many others who attended but could not get inside.

Auto Club Speedway was in the process of being sold from Penske Motorsports to International Speedway Corporation, which reacted quickly to his fatal crash. Following similar changes at ISC's Daytona International Speedway in 1984 (on the Turn 4 side) and 1995 (on the backstretch) and Talladega Superspeedway in 1995 (start-finish line section) and 1998 (Turn 2 and Turn 4), ISC paved over the backstretch infield at both Auto Club and Michigan.

CART mandated a head-and-neck restraint system on ovals shortly afterwards, with the rule eventually being mandatory on all tracks. The most common of these restraint systems is the HANS device. However, it is unknown whether such a device would have saved Moore.

Moore's contract with Penske Racing became the source of controversy nine years later because of the accident. United States authorities indicted Hélio Castroneves on tax evasion charges stemming from the way Castroneves' contract with Penske Racing was signed shortly after Moore's death. It was later proven Miller had taken Moore's contract, hastily placed Castroneves' name and representatives over Moore's name and representatives on all contractual papers, and had Castroneves sign the contract in a hurried effort to have Penske Racing's 2000 season plans readied within a short deadline, not knowing tax differences between Moore's legal Cayman Islands residence and Castroneves' legal Miami residence.

Legacy

Moore's car number, 99, was retired by CART as a mark of respect after his death (although since the merger, the number is not retired by the IndyCar Series), and presented a trophy annually called the Greg Moore Legacy Award. It is given every year to a driver who best typifies Moore's legacy of outstanding talent on track, as well as displaying a dynamic personality with fans, media, and within the CART community. As Greg was a product of the CART Ladder System, having competed in the Indy Lights Championship from 1993–95 and won the series title in 1995, drivers from The Atlantic Championship series were also eligible for the award. The award was purchased by Bridgestone, which in 2008 began sponsoring the award, giving it to a deserving Indy Lights driver. Moore was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2000.

Moore was responsible for introducing Dario Franchitti to his future wife, actress Ashley Judd. Moore brought Franchitti to a party hosted by his friend, actor and fellow Vancouverite Jason Priestley and it was at that party that Franchitti met Judd. Franchitti dedicated his win in the Molson Indy Vancouver in 2002 to Moore's memory. When Franchitti won the last IRL race at the Auto Club Speedway in 2005, the Andretti Green Racing team drove their cars to the exit of Turn 2, where Moore had his fatal crash, for their victory celebration. After winning his second IndyCar championship, an emotional Franchitti dedicated his win to Moore ten years on from his death. During pole day for the 2012 Indy 500 fellow Canadian James Hinchcliffe raced with Greg's glove giving the fallen driver his first laps at the Brickyard

Moore is remembered in his hometown. Banners in tribute to him hang in the schools he attended, Meadowridge School and Pitt Meadows Secondary. The Maple Ridge Youth Centre, opened in 2003, was named the Greg Moore Youth Centre in his honour. The British Columbia. A memorial stone is placed beside a tree with writing that briefly discusses his childhood and the incidents surrounding his tragic death. A memorial granite bench is also placed nearby.

Racing record

American open-wheel racing results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Indy Lights

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Rank Points
1993 Greg Moore Racing PHX
5
LBH
17
MIL
5
DET
8
POR
3
CLE
10
TOR
8
NHA
16
VAN
18
MDO
4
NAZ
8
LS
19
9th 64
1994 Greg Moore Racing PHX
1
LBH
2
MIL
3
DET
7
POR
5
CLE
2
TOR
12
MDO
7
NHA
1
VAN
5
NAZ
1
LS
5
3rd 154
1995 Player's/Forsythe Racing MIA
1
PHX
1
LBH
1
NAZ
1
MIL
1
DET
2
POR
1
TOR
1
CLE
1
NHA
1
VAN
5
LS
1
1st 242

CART

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Rank Points
1996 Player's/Forsythe Racing United States
MIA
7
Brazil
RIO
Ret
Australia
SUR
3
United States
LBH
Ret
United States
NAZ
2
United States
MIC
Ret
United States
MIL
5
United States
DET
20
United States
POR
Ret
United States
CLE
3
Canada
TOR
4
United States
MIC
17
United States
MDO
Ret
United States
ROA
Ret
Canada
VAN
Ret
United States
LAG
6
9th 84
1997 Player's/Forsythe Racing United States
MIA
4
Australia
SUR
2
United States
LBH
Ret
United States
NAZ
16
Brazil
RIO
2
United States
GAT
13
United States
MIL
1
United States
DET
1
United States
POR
5
United States
CLE
Ret
Canada
TOR
Ret
United States
MIC
Ret
United States
MDO
2
United States
ROA
Ret
Canada
VAN
Ret
United States
LAG
Ret
United States
FON
Ret
7th 111
1998 Player's/Forsythe Racing United States
MIA
2
Japan
MOT
4
United States
LBH
6
United States
NAZ
3
Brazil
RIO
1
United States
GAT
3
United States
MIL
13
United States
DET
5
United States
POR
Ret
United States
CLE
Ret
Canada
TOR
11
United States
MIC
1
United States
MDO
Ret
United States
ROA
Ret
Canada
VAN
Ret
United States
LAG
Ret
United States
HOU
Ret
Australia
SUR
8
United States
FON
2
5th 141
1999 Player's/Forsythe Racing United States
MIA
1
Japan
MOT
4
United States
LBH
8
United States
NAZ
12
Brazil
RIO
8
United States
GAT
6
United States
MIL
2
United States
POR
13
United States
CLE
Ret
United States
ROA
4
Canada
TOR
Ret
United States
MIC
Ret
United States
DET
3
United States
MDO
11
United States
CHI
Ret
Canada
VAN
Ret
United States
LAG
Ret
United States
HOU
16
Australia
SUR
Ret
United States
FON
Ret
10th 97

NOTE: Two races were run at Michigan International Speedway in 1996.

See also

References

  • TSN Tribute to Greg Moore
  • Greg Moore Biography
  • Sports Illustrated; Retrieved January 10, 2007

External links

  • Picture of Greg Moore
Preceded by
Gonzalo Rodríguez
Fatalities in Champ Car/IndyCar
1999
Succeeded by
Tony Renna
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Steve Robertson
Indy Lights Champion
1995
Succeeded by
David Empringham

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