Bud Moore, a World War II veteran who was awarded five Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars and who then went on to win two championships and 63 races as a NASCAR car owner, died Monday night. He was 92.
The native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, who referred to himself as "a country mechanic" was an integral part of the sport as a car owner from 1961-2000. Prior to team ownership, he won the 1957 NASCAR Cup title as a crew chief for Buck Baker. He won the 1962-63 titles as a car owner for Joe Weatherly.
Moore was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011 as part of the second five-member class to be enshrined.
"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. ... 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."
During his 37 years as a car owner, Moore's drivers included Weatherly, Dale Earnhardt, Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Bobby Isaac, Buddy Baker, Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison, Ricky Rudd and Geoffrey Bodine. Allison won the 1978 Daytona 500 driving for Moore.
Tributes to Moore, who was among the troops in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, came from throughout the NASCAR industry following his death.
"Bud is forever a hero to our country for his exemplary service in World War II," NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty said in a tweet by the Richard Petty Motorsports team. "He was also just as fierce of a competitor in the era we raced against him."
Moore was the oldest living inductee of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
"While we have lost one of NASCAR's and the United States' true pioneers and heroes, Bud's legacy and memory will always be remembered, preserved, celebrated and cherished," NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director and longtime NASCAR broadcaster Winston Kelley said.