Hand brace

Greg Moore (race car driver)

Greg Moore (April 22, 1975October 31, 1999) was a Canadian 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 end on October 31, 1999, when he was fatally injured in a violent crash on the 10th lap of the CART season finale, the Marlboro 500, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Career biography

Origins and early career

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

His early racing career progressed through go-karts, 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, Greg 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, Greg won four races and took four pole positions. He was the USAC Formula 2000 West Champion and Rookie of the Year.

The following year, Greg 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, Greg 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.

Greg 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, Greg 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

Greg started the 1997 season well, earning 2nd-place finishes at races in Gold Coast, Australia and Rio De Janeiro.

At the 7th race of the season, Greg 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 mere seconds. Seven days later, Greg scored his 2nd career victory in an exciting and dramatic race at Detroit, where Greg started the final lap in 3rd place but passed both cars of the PacWest Racing team, when both Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell ran out of fuel in front of him on the final lap. After those two races, Greg 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 Greg was paired with a teammate for the first time, fellow Canadian Patrick Carpentier and started the year strongly, with three top 5's in the first 4 races. The 5th race of the season at Rio de Janeiro, Greg 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 Greg, 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, Greg began to look at his options for the coming seasons. Near the end of the 1999 season, at the race in Houston, Greg announced he had signed a contract to race in 2000 for one of the powerhouse teams, Marlboro Team Penske run by Roger Penske.

The 1999 Marlboro 500

On October 31, the 1999 Marlboro 500 at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California was the final race of the CART World Series season. It was also Greg's final race with the Player's Forsythe racing team, the team he had raced with for the previous 5 years.

During the weekend before the race, Greg was knocked off his motor scooter by a paddock vehicle and injured his right hand. Unsure that Greg 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 - albeit 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 apparently 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 upside-down at unabated speed. Upon impact he suffered massive head, brain, neck, and other internal injuries. He was extricated by the CART Safety Team, and was airlifted to nearby Loma Linda University Medical Center. Exhaustive efforts to resuscitate him were made as the injuries had stopped his breathing; however they all failed. Moore was just 24 years old when he died. The race continued on, with Adrian Fernandez winning the race. Greg was pronounced dead before the end of the race, and upon learning of this, Auto Club Speedway ordered all track flags at half staff, and CART ordered that there would be no post-race victory celebrations. 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 Greg's death until the end of the race. At the request of Greg'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 Greg Moore and Gonzalo Rodriguez, another CART driver who was killed in a crash earlier in the season at Laguna Seca. Almost 6 laps before the ill-fated lap, driver Richie Hearn had crashed in the exact 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

Greg 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, Maple Ridge Chrysler. The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in Toronto also had a small memorial with a condolence book for people to sign.

A funeral service was held in Greg's hometown of Maple Ridge, and was attended by more than 1500 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.

Legacy

Moore's car number, 99, was retired by CART as a mark of respect after Greg's death (although since the merger, the number is not retired by the Indy Racing League; The Atlantic Championship, which is still owned and operated by the former Champ Car organization, has kept the number retired), 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 are also eligible for the award. (The Atlantic Championship remains under the ownership of the former Champ Car owners.) Moore was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2000.

Fellow racer Dario Franchitti was a close friend of Moore. Moore was responsible for introducing 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 the Scot met Judd. Franchitti dedicated his win in the Molson Indy Vancouver in 2002 to Moore's memory. When the Scot 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.

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 center, opened in 2003, was named the Greg Moore Youth center in his honor. The McDonald's on the Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge has a trophy case with memorabilia dedicated to Moore. His father Ric Moore, an active member of the community, continues his legacy through the Greg Moore Foundation.

Complete Champ Car results

Yr 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 MIA
7
RIO
Ret
SUR
3
LBH
Ret
NAZ
2
500
Ret
MIL
5
DET
20
POR
Ret
CLE
3
TOR
4
MIC
17
MDO
Ret
ROA
Ret
VAN
Ret
LAG
6
9th 84
1997 Player's MIA
4
SUR
2
LBH
Ret
NAZ
16
RIO
2
GAT
13
MIL
1
DET
1
POR
5
CLE
Ret
TOR
Ret
MIC
Ret
MDO
2
ROA
Ret
VAN
Ret
LAG
Ret
FON
Ret
7th 111
1998 Player's MIA
2
MOT
4
LBH
6
NAZ
3
RIO
1
GAT
3
MIL
13
DET
5
POR
Ret
CLE
Ret
TOR
11
MIC
1
MDO
Ret
ROA
Ret
VAN
Ret
LAG
Ret
HOU
Ret
SUR
8
FON
2
5th 141
1999 Player's MIA
1
MOT
4
LBH
8
NAZ
12
RIO
8
GAT
6
MIL
2
POR
13
CLE
Ret
ROA
4
TOR
Ret
MIC
Ret
DET
3
MDO
11
CHI
Ret
VAN
Ret
LAG
Ret
HOU
16
SUR
Ret
FON
Ret
10th 97

  • Bold indicates Pole Position

See also

References

External links

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