Snapshot: Bud Moore

The Charlotte Observer
Saturday, May. 21, 2011

Born: May 25, 1925, Spartanburg.

Family: Wife Betty (deceased); sons Brant, Greg and Daryl.

Career highlights

– In the late 1940s pursued his interest in auto mechanics after returning home from World War II in Europe, where he served as an infantryman and won two Bronze Stars and five Purple Hearts. He subsequently opened a garage.

– Fielded his first car as a team owner for driver Joe Eubanks in 1950, running only one race, the inaugural Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Finished 19th in a 70-car field.

– Served as crew chief for Buck Baker's drive to the 1957 championship in NASCAR's Grand National Division, which evolved into the Cup series. Baker won 10 of 40 starts that season.

– Became a full-time team owner in 1961, fielding cars mainly for Joe Weatherly.

– Won the 1962 and '63 Grand National titles with Weatherly as driver, scoring 14 victories. The team was favored to triumph again in '64, but Weatherly lost his life Jan. 19 in a crash at the Riverside Raceway road course in California.

– Won four straight races in '64 with Weatherly's successor, Billy Wade. The promising Moore-Wade pairing ended tragically when the driver was killed Jan. 5, 1965 during a tire test at Daytona International Speedway.

– Won Darlington's 1966 Southern 500 with Darel Dieringer driving.

– Won the 1968 NASCAR Grand American Division championship with driver Tiny Lund.

– Returned to NASCAR victory lanes in 1975, winning four times with driver Buddy Baker, Buck's son.

– Made it three in a row with Buddy Baker at Talladega in the 1976 Winston 500.

– Hired Bobby Allison as driver in 1976 and over the next three years the two posted 14 victories together, including a win in the '78 Daytona 500.

– Fielded Fords for Dale Earnhardt in 1982-83, winning three races, including victories in the Rebel 500 at Darlington and the Talladega 500.

– Won the 1990 Atlanta Journal 500 with driver Morgan Shepherd.

– Moore sold his operation in 1999 and retired to his farm near Spartanburg.


Retired Observer motorsports reporter and contributor Tom Higgins on Bud Moore:

First time I saw him: At Asheville-Weaverville Speedway on Sept. 8, 1957. He was crew chief for Buck Baker, who finished second in a 100-miler that day to Lee Petty.

First impression: A tough, gritty taskmaster, just as he was while serving as a sergeant in Gen. George Patton's Third Army in WWII. He nevertheless enjoyed a good laugh, especially on a golf course and around a poker table.

My favorite memory of him: The look of abject pride on his face when participants in a Charlotte Motor Speedway "Media Tour" in the early 1990s widely expressed astonishment at the pristine cleanliness of his relatively modest Spartanburg shop. Many said they wouldn't hesitate to eat off the floor, and they meant it.

Most memorable quote: "That feller doesn't know what he's talking about...Racin' ain't war, real war is Hell on this earth."- Reacting testily to a track announcer's pre-race statement that "The drivers are getting ready to go to war."

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