ROUGEMONT — Local short track racing is a tough sport.
Not only does it take a lot of money, teamwork and talent, but it takes a desire to win.
Rougemont’s very own Craig Moore desires just that, to win and become an Orange County Speedway track champion.
Moore, 35 and a Person High graduate is the driver of the No.1 Impala at Orange County Speedway . For Moore, racing is a way life and a true passion.
His passion is also his profession. As owner/operator of Craig Moore Racing he is able to devote at least two to three complete work days to his race car. He describes himself as a general mechanic and metal fabricator.
Moore works on anything from cars to farm equipment. He depends on local word of mouth and community support to keep his business going.
“I’ve had several higher paying opportunities to work for others in the past nine years, but then I wouldn’t be able to go racing,” he said. That is a big reason he remains self employed.
In 2010 Moore had a dream season in the Late Model Division at OCS. He collected five wins in the track’s feature division and posted several top five finishes. The season boiled down to a last-race battle for the championship with veteran driver and track champion Terry Dease.
Moore won the race that night but lost the championship to Dease by a two points.
Moore’s heartbreaking 2010 season has been an inspiration to him. After competing on and off at his hometown track for over 15 years, he says his desire to be a champion at his hometown track is at an all-time pinnacle.
The task will not be an easy one. Moore will enter into the Paul Ring Memorial on Saturday at Orange County Speedway trailing points leader Tripp Massengill by only four points.
He will also have Dease, winner of the last OCS Late Model race in hot pursuit. Dease sits in third position only six points back .
“It’s nearly impossible to attain sponsorship nowadays,” Moore said. “You know when it comes to my racing efforts I rely on a few people. I have to thank my wife Carly, my mother, Charlie Hemphill, Sign Graphics, New way Cleaners and Shearin’s Tire Service. It’s really a family affair.”
In recent years many tracks have made rule changes to reduce costs for Late Model teams. Moore like everyone says it’s is one of the hardest hurdles for a racer to jump.
On any given night a Late Model racer may spend $300 to $800 on tires, fuel, gate fees, and miscellaneous parts. This is assuming that the driver doesn’t get tangled in a costly on-track incident, which can cost well over $1,500. It is a lot of money for an individual to pull out of their own pocket, and one wreck can easily end a racer’s season and championship hopes.
Despite overcoming some of the hardships of racing Moore remains optimistic. He says racing at Orange County Speedway is at its best.
“Tell me of any other track where you see cars mixing it up as much as we have at OCS this year,” he said. “More fans are in the stands, and there have been four great races this season."
Fans can only expect to see another great race Saturday night as Moore battles his way to the front.