Friday, October 31, 2008

Remembering Greg Moore

Halloween Day will always be a day of sombre and remorse for me (until I have kids, anyway).
It was October 31, 1999. I was in my first year of college in Peterborough, living away from home for the first time with my great friend Jamie Grimmon. It was a Sunday, so naturally there were races on. At the time, I was a genuine open-wheel racing fan, primarily a CART fan.
And at the turn of the century, Canada was taking names and kicking ass in the sport.
The man leading the Canadian surge on the track was Greg Moore, and he was a phenom in CART.
On that fall day in 1999, Moore was on the 10th lap of the season-closing Marlboro 500 in Fontana, California, when his car left the track, and wrecked violently. Tragically, he died.
If you watch enough racing, you see your fair share of crashes. As Moore's crash went, the auto racing world has seen more spectacular. But as I was sitting there watching the race, and the crash, I knew it was bad. Don't know what it was, just had the feeling that this outcome was not going to be a good one.
Speculation went on throughout the race on Moore's fate, and ultimately it was announced that he had passed on. I felt numb, as a fan and as a Canadian. Back in 1999, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for a CART race to lead the highligts on SportCentre. Greg Moore was to CART at the time, what Sidney Crosby is to the NHL now. He was the next big thing, already dominating the sport, and had such a promising future.
A lot has changed since then. CART is no longer around. Fellow Canadians Paul Tracy, Alex Tagliani, and Patrick Carpentier have all moved on to some NASCAR series or another, as have most racing fans.
Personally, as a fan of the sport, I couldn't move on or get over Greg's death. Racing to me was and never will be the same.
So I'll have a pop in Greg's memory tonight. He was on his way to being a true Canadian legend and sporting icon, cut down in his prime, and now... too soon and often forgotten.

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