Legendary crew chief, team owner, and 2011 inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Walter Maynard “Bud” Moore Jr. has died. Moore, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, was a decorated World War II veteran who served in the 90th Infantry Division and landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He later served with General George S. Patton in the 3rd Army during their push across Europe. He was wounded five times during battle and received five Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars, including one with Oak leaf clusters for his heroism.
Bud joined NASCAR as a crew chief for Buck Baker in 1957 and won a championship in that role in 1958. He later formed his own race team and won two NASCAR titles as a team owner with Joe Weatherly in 1962 and 1963, winning eight and 12 races, respectively, during those seasons. Weatherly might well have repeated a championship again in 1964, had he not been killed during a race at California’s Riverside International Speedway early that year. A third owner’s championship again barely escaped him with driver Bobby Allison finishing second in the standings in 1978.
The Bud Moore Racing team fielded a who’s who of legendary NASCAR drivers during its tenure including Weatherly, Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Buddy Baker, Lake Speed, Benny Parsons, Geoff Bodine, and Allison; the latter driver winning the Daytona 500 for Bud Moore Racing in 1978. The team’s final series win was at Sonoma in 1993.
Moore was part of the second class of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees in 2011, which also included Allison, Ned Jarrett, David Pearson, and Lee Petty. During his induction ceremony Moore was asked how he would like to be remembered after his passing. He responded:
One who made many contributions to building the sport, one whose handshake was as good as any contract, who always gave a straight answer and would never sugar-coat it, either. Most of all, to be remembered as a man who loves his family, his country, and the sport of racing.
Moore was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Betty Clark Moore, three brothers, and two sisters. He is survived by three sons, three brothers, and one sister, as well as five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.
He will be remembered as a member of our “Greatest Generation” as well as a legendary NASCAR contributor who helped elevate the sport to the status it enjoys today.
AUTHOR: Jim O'Clair