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. "He was going west on North Carolina 150, started into a curve and apparently lost control, sliding sideways," said Roger Smith, a North Carolina state trooper. "Apparently he was traveling at a high rate of speed, went sideways and couldn't correct it." Coincidentally, Smith attended the race in which Moroso drove earlier in the day. Moroso's sliding car was struck on the driver's door by an eastbound car. Tammy Williams, 27, of China Grove, N.C., the driver of the other car, also was killed. The accident occurred about midnight, according to police. Debbie Bryant of Matthews, N.C., Moroso's 26-year-old girlfriend, was injured and was taken to the Carolinas Regional Medical Center for treatment. Dick Moroso, a race track owner and former national drag racing champion who owns Moroso Performance, Inc., managed his son's career since he began competing in NASCAR's Daytona Dash series when he was 18. "This is a shock right now and is a loss we will feel even more in the days and weeks to come, I'm sure," Dick Moroso said. A memorial service will be held Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the site of Moroso's finest racing accomplishments. He won two Grand National races there in 1989 and earlier this year was runner-up to Dick Trickle in the Winston Open. Although originally from Madison, Conn., the Morosos maintained a residence and racing shop in Mooresville and also own motorsports parks in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Hollywood, Fla. "Rob was one of the most promising young drivers in Winston Cup racing, so from that standpoint it's a terrible loss for everyone who enjoys the sport," said Raymond Beadle, owner of the Blue Max team that won the Winston Cup championship last year. "Personally, though, it really hits hard because his dad is one of my best friends in racing, and I know how badly he and the rest of the family are hurting right now. Someone that young, it's a real tragic situation." Dick Moroso, in addition to managing his son's career, was crew chief on the car since Jake Elder left the team in mid-summer. "I have always tried to hire the best people I can get for the team," Dick Moroso said recently when asked about managing his son. "I didn't have much choice with Rob, but he's turned out pretty good."
SHAV GLICKTIMES STAFF WRITER
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