NASCAR announced today that Hall of Fame legend Bud Moore has died. He was 92 years old.
Walter Maynard “Bud” Moore Jr., a Spartanburg, South Carolina native, joined the US military in 1943 after graduating from high school. He served as a machine gunner in the 90th Infantry Division, stormed Utah Beach in France on D-Day, and was part of General George Patton’s “Third Army” that helped liberate Europe. Moore earned two Bronze Stars and five Purple Hearts for his service.
When Moore returned from service, he leapt immediately into racing. NASCAR was formed in 1948; Moore won his first championship in 1957, as crew chief for driver Buck Baker.
In 1961, Moore teamed up as car owner for driver Joe Weatherly. The driver notched Moore’s first full-race victory that year, at Rambi Speedway in Myrtle Beach. The duo went on to win eight times that season. They collected 12 victories and the NASCAR premier series championship in 1962 and 1963. Sadly, Weatherly died in an early 1964 race at Riverside International Raceway.
Moore’s team went on to support major NASCAR legends, including Hall of Fame drivers Dale Earnhardt and Bobby Allison; nominees Buddy Baker and Ricky Rudd; and major names including Darel Dieringer, Bobby Isaac, Tiny Lund, Benny Parsons, David Pearson, Fireball Roberts, Morgan Shepherd, Darrell Waltrip, Billy Wade, Rex White, and Cale Yarborough.
Moore wasn’t just a NASCAR legend: Ford and Bud Moore Engineering, with driver Parnelli Jones, won the 1970 Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am Series championship.
Moore’s final NASCAR victory was with Geoffrey Bodine, in May 1993 at Sonoma. He shut down his team in 1999, and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May 2011, becoming the oldest living inductee at the time.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France issued the following statement:
Many choose the word “hero” when describing athletes who accomplish otherworldly sporting feats. Oftentimes, it’s an exaggeration. But when detailing the life of the great Bud Moore, it’s a description that fits perfectly.
Moore, a decorated veteran of World War II, served our country before dominating our sport as both a crew chief and, later, an owner. As a crew chief, Moore guided NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker to a championship in 1957. As an owner, he captured consecutive titles in 1962-63 with another Hall of Famer, Joe Weatherly. Those successes, along with many more, earned him his own spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011.
On behalf of all of NASCAR, I offer my condolences to Bud’s family, friends and fans. We will miss Bud, a giant in our sport, and a true American hero.”