Canada

Tributes pour in for race car driver Greg Moore

The racing world is mourning the loss of one of its brightest young stars. Canada's Greg Moore was killed Sunday when his car slammed into an infield wall shortly after the start of the Marlboro 500.

Moore, 24, lost control of his car on the second turn of the tenth lap in the 250-lap event at California Speedway. His Reynard-Mercedes was travelling as fast as 350 km/h when it flipped and slammed into a retaining wall.

The car was propelled into a horrifying series of flips before coming to rest upside-down on the infield. Moore was airlifted to hospital and pronounced dead before the race was over.

It was to be Moore's final race of the season.

There is still no word on the cause of the crash. Moore's team said their driver gave no indication over the radio of any problems.

Moore started the race despite breaking a bone in his hand during an accident on a scooter Saturday. There was speculation that the injuries would force Moore to skip the race. But after a six-lap test, CART officials cleared him to race.

Moore was the second CART driver to die this year. Rookie Gonzalo Rodriguez of Uruguay was killed on September 11 during practice at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.

Rodriguez was the first driver killed in the CART series since Jeff Krosnoff died in a crash at Toronto's Molson Indy in 1996.

Moore's accident has many questioning the safety standards of CART racing. Moore's car slammed directly into a concrete wall. There was no tire wall to absorb the shock, nor was there a gravel pit to slow the car once it left the track.

Both of those are standard features of Formula One racing.

Drivers were not told of Moore's death until after the race was completed.

"Greg was a great guy -- he didn't deserve to die," said Juan Montoya of Colombia. Montoya, who won the CART drivers' title with a fourth-place finish, was in tears when told of Moore's death.

"This is a tragedy for all of us," said Mexico's Adrian Fernandez, the race winner. "The win doesn't matter anything. My heart goes out to his family," added Fernandez, wiping away tears.

In Moore's hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C., people were shocked at the death of their local hero, who began his ascent to North America's top racing circuit by racing go-karts.

Well-wishers left flowers on the family's lawn and flags at city hall are flying at half-staff.

A private memorial service for Greg Moore will be held in Vancouver on Wednesday. At the request of the Moore family, it will be restricted to family, close friends, as well as members of the championship auto racing teams community.

A public service will be held later this week in Maple Ridge.