Walter “Bud” Moore Jr., a decorated World War II veteran and Hall of Fame NASCAR owner, died Monday night at the age of 92.
Moore, originally from Spartanburg, S.C., graduated from high school in 1943 and joined the military as a machine gunner. His 90th Infantry Division even landed on Utah Beach in France on D-Day as part of the effort to liberate Europe. For his service, Moore was awarded five Purple Hearts and two bronze stars.
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Upon his return to the United States, Moore got into auto racing, specifically NASCAR upon its inception in 1948. He was a mechanic by trade, and described himself as a, “country mechanic who loved to make ’em run fast.” In 1957, he won the Cup Series title as the crew chief for Buck Baker. He eventually became a car owner, and won 63 races and two championships from 1961-2000.
Moore’s drivers during his career included some of the legends of the sport: Joe Weatherly, Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Bobby Isaac, Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison, and others. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011 and was its oldest member.
“Many choose the word ‘hero’ when describing athletes who accomplish otherworldly sporting feats,” NASCAR chairman Brian France said in a statement. “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.”