Cole Moore delivered his father the perfect Father’s Day gift Saturday night at All American Speedway (CA) by notching his first career Pacific Challenge Series (PCS) victory. Moore was the fourth consecutive first-time winner on the PCS as he followed Carlos Vieira, Derek Copeland and Jeff Bischofberger in the first three events of the season.
Moore took the lead after a lap 5 restart and held on to win the 100-lap event in front of Mike Beeler, Matt Scott, his father John and Randy Hedrick. It was a race in which many would say he got an assist from his father.
“It really means a lot to me to win this race before Father’s Day,” Moore told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “My dad really dedicates himself to me in this sport. I honestly believe it means as much or more to him than it even does to me.”
Cole’s father, John, would not disagree with that sentiment.
“I tell you, it is surreal you know,” John began. “We are here at All American Speedway on Father’s Day weekend and Brian Hickey (a local television sports reporter) called me to do a Father’s Day segment on stock car racing. As far as I know, Cole and I are the only ones doing this together in Super Late Model Racing at this level. It is just an honor to be out here, racing against such a tight field, and this is just what it is all about. I am so proud of him.”
The evening started with Cole Moore setting the Sunoco Fuels Fast Time with a qualifying lap of 13.278 seconds on the 1/3-mile oval. In true Father’s Day spirit, Cole drew the “Joker” card to completely invert the Dash for Cash and put his father John on the pole. The finish of the eight-lap dash would set the first four rows of the feature.
Unfortunately for the elder Moore, a missed shift would cost him the lead, and eventually land Shannon Mansch on the pole. She was followed by a charging Cole Moore, Jack Wood, Travis Milburn, Matt Scott, Mike Beeler, John Moore and early leader Tracy Bolin to set the front rows.
At the initial green flag, Mansch jumped to the lead, but a lap five yellow for Shane Butler’s flat tire doubled up the field again and allow the younger Moore to assume the lead with an outside pass. Mansch faded during the next few laps and eventually dropped out on the second yellow for a stalled Matt Wendt.
On the restart Mike Beeler assumed second, but a hard-charging John Moore and Matt Scott dropped him to fourth, where he settled in for the long run. After another double file restart, Matt Scott eventually worked his way past John Moore on lap 35 and set off after Cole Moore for the lead. Over the next 25 laps, Scott closed on Cole Moore’s bumper, only to have slight contact from John Moore recreate a couple of car lengths gap.
On lap 62, the complexion of the race changed when contact between John Moore and Scott resulted in both cars spinning. Both cars headed to the rear of the field after quick repairs, but the incident was the biggest controversy of the evening.
“I saw him working Cole, and of course I wanted Cole to win. I truly believe it was just hard racing and I thought that Matt would be able to hold on to it, to be honest with you,” John Moore stated. “Of course I don’t want to spin someone out and be sent to the back. That was not my plan. He is an awesome race car driver, and his car must have been a little looser than I thought. I have nothing but respect for that team. They are solid competitors, and multi-time champions and I wanted to be out there racing hard with them.”
Scott, on the other hand, had a different point of view.
“I can’t really say what I really think in polite company,” Scott told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I think they are kind of known to do some stuff like that. I’m not going to race anybody like that, and I would never want to win like that. I hope Cole is happy with this win.”
The ensuing restart saw C. Moore pull out to a several car length lead over Beeler and J.R. Courage, but Scott and John Moore where quickly making their way back through the field. By lap 90, Beeler, Scott and John Moore had all closed on the leader.
As the final 10 laps ran down, Cole Moore was able fend off heavy pressure from Beeler, as Scott and John Moore also finished nose to tail in a blanket finish for the top four. Randy Hedrick was able to make a late-race move to secure the final top five position, as J.R. Courage led the second five that included Jack Wood, Mark Romero, Tracy Bolin and Shane Butler.
It was Cole Moore’s first Super Late Model win, but it did not come easy.
“The six car (Beeler), I guess he was saving his car the whole race and he was coming really hard at the end, but we ended up getting the win,” Moore stated. I had to correct my driving style a little bit towards the end because I was coming off the wall pretty hard in turn three and my right rear tire was getting hot. We were able to hold on, however, and take home the win for my dad and the team.”
2014 PCS Champion Mike Beeler ran a smart and consistent race to come home in the second position and pull into a tie for the championship lead with John Moore.
“Early on we had a really good car, and I could go anywhere I wanted to,” Beeler stated. “Going two by two at the beginning, I felt that we could kind of wear our stuff out, so I just looked for a place to ride and we got that. It just worked out to where John (Moore) and the 35 car (Matt Scott) got tangled up in three and four, so we got up behind Cole. I had the car and was a little bit faster in the end, so I tried to do a little ten lap run on him. I could get up to him, but that was just all I had. I could have given him a little nudge, but I didn’t want to do it that way. Cole ran a helluva a race and it was a lot of fun.”
Matt Scott recovered to finish third, right on the rear bumper of Mike Beeler. He felt he had a car capable of winning and the motivation to do so, but he needed a just few more laps in which to do so.
“I drive a little better when I am upset,” Scott began. “The car was on rails. The car was just so fast. To go from the back to the front, to the back and to the front, I just can’t say enough about my guys. Before the race we had probably 30 laps on this brand new car, and it just says a lot about this team. I really think I had something for them, but I just needed a few more laps. I was kind of hoping they would get racing each other, but they were points racing, so I don’t think they were pushing it really hard. We will take it and live on to tell another tale.”
The next event for the Pacific Challenge Series will be at Stockton 99 Speedway (CA) for the Firecracker 125 / Ron Strmiska Memorial on July 1. It will be the fifth event of the season for the series and will mark the halfway point in the 2017 campaign.
-By Kevin Peters, Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Official Results: 1. Cole Moore, 2. Mike Beeler, 3. Matt Scott, 4. John Moore, 5. Randy Hedrick, 6. J.R. Courage, 7. Jack Wood, 8. Mark Romero, 9. Tracy Bolin, 10. Shane Butler, 11. Travis Milburn, 12. Mike Hite, 13. Chris Scribner, 14. Matt Wendt, 15. Shannon Mansch.