LM Veteran Donnie Moran Enters Colossal 100
Moran, 44, of Dresden, Ohio, was born into dirt-track racing. His father, Ron, was a car owner and became a track owner/operator in 1980 when he purchased Muskingum County Speedway in Zanesville, Ohio.
"When I was a kid, my dad had race cars and we went to the races," Moran explained. "That got me hooked, and I've been going ever since."
The younger Moran first climbed behind the wheel of a stock car at age 16, launching a career that has seen him win more than 100 races and claim seven major championships. Moran is a four-time winner of the prestigious World 100 at Eldora Speedway and he secured a permanent place in short-track racing history in 2001 when he earned $1 million for winning a late model race known as the Eldora Million.
"People know me as the 'Million Dollar Man' because we won that million dollar prize at Eldora," Moran said. "I've been pretty fortunate in my career-won a lot of big races and I thank God that we won the million. That is the only dirt race of any type in the world that's ever paid $1 million to win."
Even though dirt racing is in his blood, Moran once considered a career on asphalt.
"I actually ran some ARCA races a long time ago," he noted. "I ran fourth at Talladega and was running up front in Atlanta when the engine blew. I tried it a couple of times, but didn't have the funding to keep going.
"The number one thing is that I love to race dirt cars, and that's what I've done my entire career."
Moran charged through the field from the 25th starting spot to finish second in last year's Circle K Colossal 100 at The Dirt Track and he knows a strong showing in the April 20-21 event is very important for his team.
"I like racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It's one of the high-class dirt venues for late model racing," Moran said. "If we go there and do exceptionally well, maybe it will catch the eyes of some of the corporate people up in the suites. Someone might say, 'hey, I want to put my corporation with that team,' and we could get some corporate involvement.
"Dirt racing is making a step toward more corporate sponsorship," Moran added. "It's nothing like NASCAR, but we're getting more TV time than we ever have. It's a hidden avenue that a lot of corporations haven't realized yet."
Moran and his wife, Brenda, have five children-four boys and a girl-and the owner/driver is already thinking about what the future may hold for the family's No. 99.
"Hopefully, we can get some corporate sponsors here in the latter part of my career that will move on to the next generation of Donnie Moran Racing," Moran explained. "I have one son (Brodie) who seems very interested in racing and he's 12. I want to be able to step down as a driver in five or 10 years and still be able to carry on the Moran name."
After more than 25 years of barnstorming dirt tracks across the nation, Moran is still on top of his game. He won the 2007 late model opener on Jan. 31 in Georgia and recorded six top-10 finishes in the season's first nine races.
"We've already won a race this year, and hopefully we're off to a better season than we had last year," said Moran. "We're looking forward to a good year and we are very thankful for all the sponsors that help us do this."
The Friday night portion of the Circle K Colossal 100 will feature group time trials and heat races. The top two finishers in each heat will secure a spot in the 100-lap finale and a draw will determine the starting lineup.
Saturday night's program begins with a driver autograph session and the on-track action includes at least four additional qualifying races prior to the main event. The race will be part of the 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series, but The Dirt Track's traditional format, including the extremely popular double-file restarts, will be utilized.
If purchased in advance, reserved tickets for both Friday and Saturday nights are $49 for adults and $19 for children ages 12 and under. Two-day pit passes are $60 in advance.
Tickets and pit passes for the April 20-21 Circle K Colossal 100 can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.