This Kid Can Drive Greg Moore is CART's youngest three-time winner and its points leader

May 24, 1998

Greg Moore might be playing in the NHL right now if he hadn't
been such a sensational driver as a teenager. At 14 he was the
starting goalie on an elite Canadian team that starred Paul
Kariya, a 50-goal scorer with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. But
later that year he abandoned hockey to focus on racing because
he enjoyed that sport more. It also didn't hurt that his father,
Ric, who owns a Chrysler dealership in the Vancouver suburb of
Maple Ridge, had offered to bankroll Greg's racing career for
five years.

Moore needed only four years to move from souped up go-karts to
a fully sponsored ride in Indy Lights (CART's feeder series). At
18 he became the youngest driver to win an Indy Lights race. At
22 he became the youngest driver to win a CART race, at
Milwaukee last year. Earlier this month, after winning the Rio
400 in Brazil, Moore became the youngest driver to win three
CART events, and he moved atop this season's point standings.
The victory came when he made a daring pass of defending CART
champ Alex Zanardi with five laps to go.

"The key is to not make mistakes," says Moore, who developed a
veteran's sense of prudence at an early age because he knew a
wreck could have blown his budget. "If you watch the great
drivers, like Michael Andretti and Al Unser Jr., they wait until
the end of the race to make their moves."

Both father and son acknowledge that Greg has been fortunate in
a sport in which financial backing can be just as important as
driving ability, but they add that some others have had it even
easier. "Their names are Unser and Fittipaldi," says Ric of two
families that provided even more generous support. "We never had
any guarantees with Greg. Of course, we wouldn't have spent so
much [approximately $1.5 million in the first four years] if he
hadn't been doing so well."

Now Moore is doing very nicely on his own. He makes well over
$500,000 a year in driver's salary and prize money, and he says
he's close to paying back his father. Yet he still goes home to
Maple Ridge for the week or so each month when he's not
traveling. He still sleeps in the bedroom he has had since his
hockey days, and he still has pictures of his boyhood idol,
Formula One great Ayrton Senna, on his walls. Could Formula One
be his next step? "If I've won a few [CART] championships by the
time I'm 26 or 27, I'll look to F/1 as a next step," he says
coolly, with no apparent doubt that this won't be so. "But right
now my goal is to win this championship."

--Loren Mooney

COLOR PHOTO: JAMIE SQUIRE/ALLSPORT [Greg Moore]

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)