Meet a hero many times over

- Contributor
Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012

Very rarely do NASCAR fans get an opportunity to meet an authentic racing legend and also an American war hero.

They will have that chance simultaneously next month. Walter 'Bud' Moore is both, and he will be honored during a special event Oct. 14 at the Memory Lane Motorsports & Historical Museum in Mooresville. The public is invited to attend from noon to 3 p.m., chat with Moore, get autographs and pose for photos with him.

“This date was selected because it is the day following the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night (Oct. 13) at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” said Alex Beam, founder and owner of the museum. “It will give not only the local Carolinas fans a chance to help us pay tribute to Bud, but also those who are visiting the area from other states. We hope these latter folks will drop by en route home.”

Moore, now 87, has been recognized widely since retiring from Cup Series competition in 1999, including induction into Charlotte’s NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011.

After starting in stock car racing as a mechanic in the early 1950s, the native of Spartanburg, S.C., next became a crew chief and then a team owner. Drivers he fielded posted 63 victories, including major triumphs at Charlotte, Darlington, Daytona, Talladega and Atlanta. As a crew chief, Moore won the 1957 big-time NASCAR title with driver Buck Baker. Driving cars owned and engineered by Moore, Joe Weatherly took back-to-back championships in 1962-63.

Just as meaningful to many—including me—is what Moore did for our country in World War II.

As a 19-year-old sergeant he stormed Utah Beach in the first wave on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

In the following months as a member of Gen. George Patton’s army he was wounded five times, on each occasion receiving a Purple Heart.

His bravery in battle—including the almost single-handed capture of nearly two dozen German officers and men—earned him the Bronze Star and clusters.

Beam said that among the Moore memorabilia on display during the tribute will be the 1982 Ford which Dale Earnhardt drove to victory in the Rebel 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Some of Bud’s former drivers have committed to attend “Moore Day In Mooresville,” including Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Geoff Bodine and Dick Trickle. Other ex-drivers expected include Donnie Allison, Neil Castles, Ted Musgrave, Tom Pistone and Rex White.

The museum is located on Highway 150 just west of I-77’s Exit 36. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for kids ages 6-12.

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