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Rob Moroso
Born: September 28, 1968      Died: September 30, 1990
Home: Madison, CT

 

Rob Moroso (September 28, 1968 - September 30, 1990) was a NASCAR racing driver who was champion of the NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) in 1989, was posthumously awarded the 1990 NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup Series) Rookie of the Year award. He was killed in a traffic accident on roads near his hometown of Terrell, North Carolina.

Born in Madison, Connecticut, he was the son of Dick Moroso, founder of Moroso Performance, suppliers of aftermarket automotive parts, and former owner of Moroso Motorsports Park in Jupiter, Florida.

NASCAR Busch career

He made his debut in the Busch series at age 17, driving the #23 Old Milwaukee Chevrolet, and later the #15 for Rick Hendrick. He won his first race in 1988, when he was 19. He finished second in the final Busch series points in 1988. Moroso won a total of six races from 1988 to 1989, including 3 consecutive at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and was voted the most popular driver on the circuit.

In 1989 Moroso, was vying with veteran driver Tommy Houston for the championship in the final race of the year, at Martinsville Speedway. Houston's engine failed during the race, while Moroso finished third and won the title by 55 points from Houston. At the time Moroso was the youngest champion in the history of NASCAR.

NASCAR Cup career

Moroso made his debut in Winston Cup in 1988 at Charlotte with Peak Antifreeze sponsorship, finishing 14th in his debut. He would race one more time in 1988 and ran two races in 1989 as a warm up for the following season. Moroso declared he was running for Rookie of the Year in the 1990 season with sponsorship from Crown Petroleum, driving the #20 Oldsmobile for his father. The highlight of the season was a ninth place finish in the Pepsi Firecracker 400 at Daytona.

Death

On September 30, 1990, Moroso was killed in an automobile crash near Mooresville, North Carolina only hours after finishing 21st in the Holly Farms 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Traveling at estimated 75 mph (121 km/h), Moroso lost control of his vehicle on a curve with a 35 mph (56 km/h) posted speed limit. The resulting collision killed both Moroso and Tammy Williams, the driver of the vehicle in the opposite lane. The curve in which Moroso was killed is now called Dead Mans Curve, by the townspeople of Mooresville, NC.

Investigations revealed that he had been driving under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was 0.22, over twice the then legal level of 0.10. He also had been convicted of speeding four times. Judges could have revoked his license at least twice but the charges were reduced.

Moroso earned enough points after completing just 25 of 29 races that he was posthumously awarded the Raybestos NASCAR Rookie of the Year Award in 1990.

 

SPORTS

NASCAR Driver Moroso Dies in Crash on Highway

October 2, 1990 | SHAV GLICK,
Just a few hours after driving 250 miles in a NASCAR Winston Cup stock car race Sunday, Rob Moroso was killed in a highway accident near his home in Mooresville, N.C., while returning from the race. Moroso, 22 last Thursday, was the 1989 Busch Grand National champion and this season was a leading candidate for Winston Cup rookie of the year. He finished 20th in the Holly Farms 400 Sunday at North Wilkesboro, N.C., driving an Oldsmobile owned by his father, Dick Moroso.

A suit was filed in Rowan County Superior Court in...

November 16, 1990
A suit was filed in Rowan County Superior Court in Salisbury, N.C., against former NASCAR driver Rob Moroso's racing team and General Motors Corp., asking for unspecified damages resulting from a traffic accident in which a 27-year-old woman was killed. Moroso, 22, who also died in the two-car crash, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.22--more than twice the legal limit, authorities said.

THE SIDELINES : Pub Absolved in Moroso Death

December 11, 1990 |
The pub where Rob Moroso drank beer before his fatal accident Sept. 30 is not to blame for the wreck that killed the rookie NASCAR driver and another person, the state Alcohol Law Enforcement division said today. The department said in a written statement that it found no evidence of irresponsible service by any establishment visited by the 22-year-old Moroso the night of the accident.

The family of a woman killed along with Winston Cup driver...

March 30, 1992 |
The family of a woman killed along with Winston Cup driver Rob Moroso when their cars collided has settled a lawsuit for at least $400,000 against his estate, his racing team, General Motors and the restaurant where he was drinking before the Sept. 30, 1990, crash in North Carolina.

The Tragic Story of Rob Moroso    By: Drew Hierwarter

Times were good for Rob Moroso in 1990. He was young and life was full of excitement. He had made it to the big leagues of American stock car racing, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The previous year he had won the NASCAR Busch Grand National Championship, at the time the youngest to ever accomplish that feat. In just four years in that series he entered 89 races and won 6 of them, four of those coming in the championship winning year. After the first 25 races of his initial Winston Cup season he had one top ten finish to his credit and was looking like a shoe-in to be named the 1990 Rookie of the Year. Yes, life was good.

Moroso was used to good things. He was born in Madison, CT on September 28th, 1968, the same year that his father, Dick Moroso started a company called Moroso Performance Products. The senior Moroso was a nationally famous drag racer who saw a need for better engine parts and other products designed for racers. He pioneered such items as deep sump oil pans, tall valve covers, and electric water pumps. Racers soon realized that Morosoís products were superior to what had been available and his company prospered.

Young Rob Moroso grew up surrounded by the high performance world and the many racers that were his dadís customers. It was only natural that he would become a racer himself. His first race in the NASCAR Busch Series was at Orange County Speedway in 1986 and his first win came in a 200 lap race in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1988. He won one other race that year and then four more in his championship year of 1989. By this time his move up to the Winston Cup level was a foregone conclusion.

Morosoís 1990 Winston Cup season was typical for any young driver making the transition to the top level. There were accidents and disappointments, but there was also a best finish of ninth and optimism about his chances to win the Rookie title. But just two days after his twenty second birthday, it all came to an end.

Earlier in the day, Moroso had finished 21st in the Holley Farms 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina. Driving on a road near his home in Mooresville, NC, Moroso, the young and talented race car driver who was used to driving at high speeds, approached a curve at what police estimated was 40 mph above the posted limit. He lost control of his car and collided with another car coming in the opposite direction. Both drivers died. A later test indicated that Morosoís blood alcohol level was 0.22, more than twice the legal limit.

A bright light had tragically been snuffed out too early. The 1990 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year award was given to Rob Moroso posthumously by NASCAR. And now no one will ever know how many more races or championships he couldíve won. Sadly, only eight years later, Robís father Dick Moroso would succumb to cancer. But the company he started more than 40 years ago, now run by another son, Rick Moroso, still thrives today and continues to produce innovative products for racers everywhere.  

NASCAR Winston Cup Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1988 19 2 of 29 0 0 0 0 473 0 5,750 54 30.0 22.5
1989 20 2 of 29 0 0 0 0 583 0 4,725 63 18.0 31.0
1990 21 25 of 29 0 0 1 0 5666 9 162,002 30 20.4 25.4
3 years 29 0 0 1 0 6722 9

172,477

  20.9 25.6

NASCAR Busch Series Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1986 17 2 of 31 0 0 0 0 248 0 1,365 59 10.5 19.5
1987 18 25 of 27 0 2 8 0 3950 0 51,370 15 21.1 15.5
1988 19 30 of 30 2 10 18 2 5069 285 181,618 2 9.1 11.7
1989 20 29 of 29 4 12 16 7 5349 666 346,849 1 5.3 10.4
4 years 86 6 24 42 9 14616 951 581,202   11.3 12.5

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1987 18 1 of 23 0 0 0 0 124 0 0     16.0
1 year 1 0 0 0 0 124 0 0     16.0

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


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