Bud Moore’s Life Was More Than Just Winning Races

WINNING TIME: Bud Moore (left) and Bobby Allison enjoy a long ago NASCAR victory lane. (NSSN Archives Photo)
WINNING TIME: Bud Moore (left) and Bobby Allison enjoy a long ago NASCAR victory lane. (NSSN Archives Photo)

Legendary NASCAR team owner Bud Moore was elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last month, the crowning achievement on a career which included victories, championships and distinguished service in the Army during World War II.

Born May 25, 1925, Walter M. “Bud” Moore first became interested in NASCAR racing in the 1950s. First working as a crew chief, he won the 1957 NASCAR championship in that capacity with driver Buck Baker.

In 1961, Moore, who often referred to himself as “a country mechanic,” transitioned into the role as car owner and went on to win 63 races and 43 poles during 37 years as a car owner.

Drivers including Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough, Buddy Baker, Darrell Waltrip, Fireball Roberts, Geoff Bodine and Bobby Allison, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in the same class as Moore, drove his cars. Joe Weatherly won a pair of NASCAR Grand National titles for Moore in 1962 and 1963. Tiny Lund earned the 1968 NASCAR Grand American crown in a Moore car.

Moore also fielded cars in Sports Car Club of America competition and Parnelli Jones drove his Mustang to the 1970 Trans Am championship.

“Bobby drove for me, and we won a lot of races over the years,” Moore said upon selection for the Hall of Fame. “It was amazing, though, for them to put me in the NASCAR Hall of Fame like they did, and especially on the second round. I was so thrilled I couldn’t even talk for a while. Tears came into my eyes. I really didn’t expect it to be this early, but I’m real grateful now. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Moore is also well known for his service in the Third Army in Europe, which began with a beach landing during the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

“When I went off the boat, the water was shoulder high,” Moore told this newspaper upon the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994. “We had 150 yards, 200 yards to go before we ever hit sand, probably 150 yards before we got to water that was knee deep. And all the shells were coming in.

“This one boy to my left or right, I can’t remember, got a direct hit. He just disappeared. All this stuff flying and I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do. I ran as hard through the water as I could and I ran across that beach and got over behind some dirt.”

From there, Moore and his comrades proceeded to fight their way inland.

Before his service ended Moore had ben awarded five purple hearts, four for shrapnel wounds and a fifth for a gunshot wound to his hip. “All in all, as many times as I was blown out of a foxhole, the times the shrapnel did get me, I was very fortunate I never had any what they call major problems,” Moore said in 1994.

“We had a job to do and I’m just proud to have played a part in keeping this great country free.”