Jerry Moody, who is being honored at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina on Sunday, touched a lot of lives, none more so than Haley Moody.
Haley Moody, 20, from Kinston, North Carolina, is the daughter of the late Jerry Moody, who passed away on November 24, 2013. For Haley, a win in Sunday’s race would mean the world. Last season, she won the Limited Late Model division championship at Southern National Motorsports Park – a track her father won many races and championships at as a car owner.
“I think it’s pretty cool that they have it here because this is where he started and everybody that has ran his car has ran here,” Moody said. “I basically started here myself and I won the championship last year and it’s pretty cool. He would love it. I’m pretty sure that he’s going to be looking down and be happy and I think he’ll be excited. I really want to win that race.”
Despite the loss of her father, Moody raced into the pages of history in 2014. Her championship was the first of any kind for a female Late Model racer in the region where NASCAR Late Model Stock Car racing is most predominant. Along with that, Moody also won the NASCAR Diverse Driver Award which she accepted at the Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2015.
“I’m pretty sure he was pretty excited looking down,” Moody stated when asked how her father would feel about her on-track accomplishments. “That’s all he wanted me to do was do good and I’m pretty sure that’s a big accomplishment for him and for me.”
Despite those accomplishments, the biggest sentimental victory of Moody’s career came on November 22, 2013 when she scored her first Late Model victory with her father present one last time. Racing in an exhibition event at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Moody qualified on the pole and ran 50 perfect laps.
Now, Moody will get to see her father’s legacy honored in a race she will participate in – a 100 lap Late Model Stock Car feature. Her crew chief, Jamey Caudill, won four championships at Southern National Motorsports Park with three of those coming when he was teamed up with Jerry Moody. He feels Jerry’s strong-willed daughter has the heart and the skill to score the win.
“I’d like to run that race but I’m helping [Haley],” Caudill said. “He asked me to help her so that’s what I did and everything happened the way it did at Myrtle Beach. I thought about it a lot. The way I look at it is, it would mean more to him for me to help Haley then for me to run the race so that’s my thought process behind it. She’s capable of running up front and competing for the win and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
Like he did for so many, Jerry left a positive impression on Caudill and he is happy to see his old friend honored in Sunday’s race.
“It’s cool to honor Jerry,” Caudill remarked. “It’s a lot for anybody to deal with but, for Haley, it says a lot about her. She’s a strong-willed person. She gives 110 percent in everything she does, whether it’s racing, sports or school. Her dad instilled that in her. She wouldn’t go if she didn’t think she could give 110 percent in the race and her dad wouldn’t want her to. It says a lot about her.”
The Inaugural Jerry Moody Memorial will be held on Sunday, April 26th. Gates open at 12pm, qualifying starts at 2pm and the green flag will fly at 3pm. Along with the Late Models, the Bandolero, Legends, Charger and U-CAR divisions will all be in action.
For more information about Southern National Motorsports Park, check out SNMP’s website at www.snmpark.com, “like” Southern National Motorsports Park on Facebook or “follow” @SNM_Park on Twitter.