Age Not Slowing Down Local Architect at Charlotte Motor Speedway's Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series
At age 66, Carlos “Mercury” Moore is the oldest driver competing in the Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but the Legend Car Masters division driver isn’t letting that slow him down.
Giving himself the nickname Mercury, meaning “Greek God of Speed,” Moore, an architect by trade, credits his profession for getting him into the sport of racing. It all started in 1987 when Moore was asked to design the Bahari Racing shop in Mooresville, N.C. Since then, Moore has helped construct more than 65 race shops or race related buildings, including shops for Geoff Bodine, Racing Electronics, Ray Evernham, Roush Industries, Ricky Rudd, Darrell Waltrip and an airport hanger for Hendrick Motosports.
Although Moore claims he got into racing in 1987, he didn’t actually step into a racecar until nearly two decades later. Moore bought his first Legend Car six years ago at the age of 60, and in 2004 began racing in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Summer Shootout Series.
Many consider Moore to be somewhat of a late bloomer when it comes to his racing career, but he doesn’t see his age or lack of experience as a hindrance, nor does he let it affect his driving style.
“I don’t see it as a disadvantage, some of my fellow competitors act older than me,” exclaimed Moore. “They drive like somebody’s grandpa, but I am always up against the firewall with the pedal to the metal.”
One of those competitors is longtime friend and Legend Car rival Bruce Silver. The pair first met when Silver hired Moore to design his race shop, Racing Electronics. The two became friends soon after and Moore convinced Silver to race Legend Cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I beat him for about two years and then he started beating me and I could hardly keep up with him,” explained Moore. “I wanted to slow him down so I got this voodoo doll and put his name on it. I have pins stuck in his hands and feet so he can’t drive and in his head and stomach, trying to give him a headache or stomachache. I have pins stuck in him everywhere, anything just to try and slow him down.”
The voodoo doll is proudly displayed in the Summer Shootout garage each week for all the drivers to see including Silver, who coincidently happens to be parked in the garage stall right next to Moore.
Moore not only wheels his Legend Car around Charlotte Motor Speedway’s frontstretch quarter-mile oval on Tuesday nights, but he is also a self-taught mechanic. Moore and two friends do all the mechanical work on his racecar, but he prides himself on the fact that he makes all the setup calls on his car.
“Back when I grew up if you didn’t work on your car, you didn’t have one,” explained Moore. “I bought my first car, a ’49 Ford coupe, from a junkyard for $125. I put a transmission in it and it was ready to roll.
“My father was a machinist and he knew how to fix anything so he taught me a lot, and my grandfather ran a service station. I worked on cars and changed tires, even before they had tire changers.”
In addition to working on his own cars Moore will be fielding a Legend Car for NASCAR great Geoff Bodine in the Legends Million race July 15-17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bodine’s car will carry a special paint scheme for the Florida chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and he has pledged to donate his winnings to the organization to help Alzheimer’s patients in the state.
“The only way my friends got me to agree to run in the Legends Million was if I could give the money to a charity," said Bodine. "I've been involved in a lot of charities over the years and want to influence people who do good things. I hope we're able to help those affected by this terrible illness."
Bodine's first experience in a Legend Car came in a celebrity race in 1997 and Moore has great confidence in his driver for the Legends Million. To get ready for the largest Legend Car race in history, Bodine and Moore are planning several test sessions and will be running a few races to shake down the car.
“I think we have as good of a chance as anyone because Geoff has driven a Legend Car before,” said Moore. “From what I hear he could really wheel those things back in the day. We are going to put him out there, and he is going to hammer down, giving those younger guys a run for their money.”
The Legends Million is a one-of-a-kind grassroots race featuring a total purse of $1 million with the A-Feature winner guaranteed to take home an unprecedented $250,000. The final spot in the feature is assured $10,000.
Competitors who register for the Legends Million must register in one of three divisions: Young Lions/Semi-Pro, Masters or The Legends Million, which is open to all drivers.
Each division will run heat races and an A-Main race, with the Legends Million A-Feature serving as the grand finale of the three-day event. The winners of the two division A-Main races will earn an unprecedented $30,000 and $25,000, respectively.
The Legends Million will include Legend Car Series regulars, up-and-coming drivers and the sport's top stars. To date, drivers from 28 U.S. states and Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are entered in this first-of-its-kind event.
For additional information on competitor registration for the Legends Million, go online or call the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.
For tickets for the Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series or the Legends Million, contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or go online.