1995 Busch North Series champion Kelly Moore has a lengthy resume of racing accomplishments. Surprisingly, a trip to New Smyrna Speedway to race in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing is not on that list.
That will change in just a couple of weeks, as Moore will compete in the event for the first time, racing alongside his son Ryan Moore during Florida Speedweeks.
Both Kelly and Ryan Moore will compete in the David Rogers Super Late Model division during this year’s World Series, scheduled to take place at New Smyrna on February 5-13.
Competing in the World Series has been on Kelly’s radar for several years now, especially since he has frequented the event many times with Ryan racing in it. The stars finally aligned for the father-son duo to compete this year.
“I think my son pushed me, more than anything,” Kelly Moore told Speed51. “He said I needed to do it and wanted to run a race there. We’ve never had a lot of crew to do that. I’m not sure if we do right now, but I recruited a few guys. We talked about it last year and we were close to doing it last year but had some issues come up in my business that required my attention, and his right up until Speedweek.”
Ryan Moore, a former Speedweeks champion, is looking forward to the chance to race with his dad throughout the week in New Smyrna.
“It’s definitely going to be fun,” he said. “I think we’ve both had it in the back of our minds for the last couple of years and he’s made comments about wanting to do it. We just pushed the envelope this year and made it happen. I’ve got his car that I’m preparing in my shop in Charlotte. His crew that he has up north will all fly down and meet us. The timing was right. Our crew is all volunteers, and they all wanted to do it. I’m looking forward to it; I think it will be a lot of fun.”
To prepare for this year’s World Series, Ryan and Kelly Moore competed in January’s Red Eye 50/50 at New Smyrna. For Ryan, it was an opportunity to get laps on a brand-new race car.
“The reason I went to the Red Eye was to shake down a new car and get some track time on that. Dad has been there a hundred times with me, but he’s never raced there. It was a good shakedown for him as well and we worked out a few bugs. Hopefully we can unload at Speedweeks and both cars will be close.”
The Red Eye also served as Kelly Moore’s first chance to race at the Florida half-mile. While brake issues led to a disappointing finish, the track time was invaluable.
“I feel a lot better going into the World Series than I would have. We sorted out a lot of bugs with the car. The car was a brand-new car, and I had some issues driver-comfort wise.
“I had been there for years with my son but had never been around it. We sorted out a lot of issues with the cars and getting me comfortable on the racetrack. We just about got there and lost brakes in the race.”
The elder Moore is particularly excited to take part in the World Series for the first time, joining the long list of drivers who have competed in the February short track tradition.
“It’s a lot of history at New Smyrna. You look down through the World Series, what people have accomplished. There’s been a lot of great races. It’s one of those places you’d like to say you’ve gone and raced competitively and had a good time during the weekend.”
Both Ryan and Kelly hope to make trips to victory lane during the nine nights in New Smyrna.
“Every year I go down, I say the best I’ve been able to win is two races in Speedweeks,” said Ryan Moore. “Every year, my goal is to beat it and win three races, but it gets harder and harder every year. There’s just so many good cars and good drivers, good teams. I feel like this year, we’re as prepared as we’ve ever been. We have the best equipment we can to do that.”
“Every race I’ve ever entered, we go to win,” added Kelly Moore. “Hopefully, we accomplish a W while we’re there. It’s going to be a tall task, I know that. I’m not fooling anybody. There is a lot of stiff competition there. We’ve just got to get everything right, get the car right, get the driver comfortable in the seat and have some good luck, and I think that will produce good results.
“It isn’t just the driver. It’s everybody from the spotter to the guy that does the tires. That’s what makes the W come around.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo