KINSTON, NC :: It’s been a long and difficult offseason for 19-year-old Haley Moody.  Last time she raced, she was in victory lane.  Less than 48 hours later, she was mourning the death of her father, Jerry Moody.  Haley Moody will continue racing with the help of some of Jerry Moody’s old friends and is hoping that a $50,000 sponsorship from Champion Spark Plugs can fund her racing season.

Jerry Moody was a longtime friend to the racing community, helping drivers like Scott Riggs, Matt McCall and Jamey Caudill, among many others, throughout their racing careers and asking nothing in return.  Many of those, most notably engine builder Charlie Long, are returning the favor by paying it forward and assisting Haley Moody.

Long and Caudill took Moody to the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show at Indianapolis in December which is where Moody found out and eventually entered Champion Spark Plugs’ Search for a Champion contest.  Moody is the only driver in the region to be one of the 15 finalists in the contest and, as a result, is guaranteed a $5,000 sponsorship.  Now, she’s hoping and praying $50,000 in sponsorship money will come her way.

Voting, which consists of one-third of the judging, is open until March 23rd and people can vote for Moody by going to her profile on the Search for a Champion website and voting from there.  Fans can cast one vote each day.  A panel of sponsor-selected judges will select the $50,000 grand prize winner later in March, judging each finalist on their inspirational quality and best depiction of a champion.

“It would mean so much to me to win this contest because that means we could actually race every race of the season and try to get a championship and do the best I can for them and for my dad also,” Moody said.

Moody also has the support of Long and Caudill who are both working on their own time to help Moody continue her racing career.  Long is working on her engine for no charge and Caudill is working on the car at his shop without expecting anything in return.

“Her dad was good to us helping with our racing and not expecting much in return,” Long said.  “We don’t have a lot of money but we’ve got some stuff and we want to help her out and pay Jerry back that way as much as we can.

“Jerry started helping us when we started racing Trucks.  Scott Riggs drove for me.  He wanted to know if we were going to Martinsville and we needed some money and he gave me a lot with no expectations in return because he thought Scott had potential.  We qualified fifth, ran well and finished ninth and it propelled Scott’s career.  Scott’s going to help us financially as well.”

“We’ve got a few little things.  We’re going to run her Limited Late Model for 19 races at Southern National Motorsports Park and it takes money to do that.  I’m doing the engine for no charge, Jamey Caudill’s going to donate his time and house the car at his shop.  Her dad was a great customer of mine as well.  We’re doing some stuff.  We need money.  If she wins this Champion deal, it solves our problem but we’re not counting on that.  We’ve got to find some more money.”

“It mean the world to me that they would do anything to help me race,” Moody said of Long and Caudill.  “My dad would be very grateful for them. He thought the world of them. I’m very thankful for them. ”

When talking about Haley, Long said that he can speak for both he and Jamey Caudill when saying that her victory at Myrtle Beach was the highlight of their careers.

“We’ve won Martinsville twice and been in racing a long time but that night in Myrtle Beach was bigger for us than anything we’ve ever run when she won that Limited race last year,” he said.

While the past few months have been difficult for Moody, she has kept her head up, stayed strong and is more inspired than ever to race with all her heart.

“I’m going to have to be strong, always do the best I can and hopefully something good will come out of it.”

Moody’s first race of the year will be on Saturday, March 15th in the Limited Late Model opener at Souhern National Motorsports Park.