CART banquet goes on, but with solemn overtone

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A CART championship series awards banquet went on as scheduled on Monday night, but the mood was solemn.

A CART championship series awards banquet went on as scheduled on Monday night, but the mood was solemn.

Race drivers, wearing small white ribbons on the lapels of their tuxedoes, were thinking more about Greg Moore than they were about awards.

Moore, aged 24, died in a horrific crash on Sunday when his car slammed into a retaining wall early in the Marlboro 500 at California Speedway in Fontana.

"Everything is overshadowed," said Scott Pruett, a fellow driver who also heads the Championship Drivers Association. "Everything that happens on a race track seems kind of miniscule compared with the loss of life.

A 15-minute tribute was held for Moore and Gonzalo Rodriguez of Uruguay, who died 12 September in a CART race at Laguna Seca in Northern California. Portraits of the two drivers were flashed onto a huge screen and a prayer was said.

While it was difficult to go ahead with the banquet, Pruett, fighting back tears, said Moore's family insisted it be held.

"They didn't want to make this evening a memorial to Greg," said Pruett, who finished 22nd in Sunday's race. "On Wednesday, let's grieve for Greg at his funeral."

Paul Tracy, like Moore a Canadian, had difficulty believing that his friend was not at the banquet.

"I spent a pretty sleepless night," said Tracy, who finished 18th in the race. "My wife and I had a hard day. Just a few days ago, my wife cooked dinner for us, and we ate in our mobile home. I've never had anything hit so close to home."

Juan Montoya of Colombia, received several awards at the banquet, including the top prize that goes to the champion. Tracy received the award as most improved driver.

Comments