Bud Moore - Ford interview 2009-04-21

Bud Moore, a NASCAR owner who competed with Ford products for 50 years in NASCAR, will be one of five people inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Thursday night in Talladega, Ala. Moore, who won 63 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series...

Bud Moore, a NASCAR owner who competed with Ford products for 50 years in NASCAR, will be one of five people inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Thursday night in Talladega, Ala. Moore, who won 63 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races with a variety of legendary drivers, is now 83 years old and still resides in his hometown of Spartanburg, S.C. He spoke with Ford Racing on Monday about his life on and off the race track.

BUD MOORE, 2009 IMHoF Inductee and Former Ford Owner

WHEN DID YOU BECOME A FORD MAN? "I ran the modifieds with Ford back from 1946 all the way through 1951 and then we ran some Fords in '55 and '56, but got strong with Ford in 1963, and from that time up until I sold out in 1999, I ran Ford products. I've always like Ford. I had some T-Models back when I was a boy, and we used to strip them down and run them around on the farm in Spartanburg. But when I got hooked up with Lincoln-Mercury in 1963 with Joe Weatherly, we won the championship that year. Then I ran a Mercury Cougar in the Trans-Am Series in 1967, and took over the Mustang program in 1969 and won the championship in 1970. I'm the first man that pioneered the small-block engine, and I think the first model we put it in was a '71 or '72 Torino, but Ford always gave us a lot of help, so I always stayed with them."

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FORD OF ALL-TIME? "When I got drafted into the Army back in 1943, I had a '36 Ford Roadster and parked that thing down at the farm under one of my daddy's sheds and covered it all up. It sat there until I came out of the Army in 1945 and when I got her out, I had to put some tires on it and a new battery, but I got her going and drove it around for a good while."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS INDUCTION ON THURSDAY? "I'm really excited about it and I really appreciate them putting me in. It's just a thrill for me to know that they're recognizing me and feel I'm worthy of being in there. I'm looking forward to it and it's gonna be a great day for me and my family. I'm in a bunch of Halls of Fame, but this is the biggest one and knowing that I'm going into this one is a great feeling."

LIKE THE WOOD BROTHERS AND JUNIE DONLAVEY, WHO COMPETED IN NOTHING BUT FORD PRODUCTS, YOU HAD A DRIVER LINEUP THAT WAS SECOND TO NONE. "I had 43 different race drivers drive for me. Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison, Fireball Roberts, Joe Weatherly, David Pearson, it was just a great deal to have all of the famous and good race drivers that we had. I just feel like I had a great career as far as NASCAR is concerned and also had a great career running Ford products."

IT'S PROBABLY HARD TO PICK OUT A MOMENT OR TWO THAT STANDS OUT, BUT WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP OR DAYTONA 500 MUST STAND OUT DOESN'T IT? "I think winning the Daytona 500 under the circumstances the way it happened was one of the great feelings for all of us. Buddy Baker got out of our car in 1977 and we hired Bobby Allison in 1978 for a three-year deal. We go to Daytona to run the Daytona 500 and Baker and Bobby got in it about the second or third lap in the qualifying race on Thursday and spun out coming off turn two. We hit the guardrail and bent the whole back of the car up pretty bad. It didn't hurt Baker too much. After they got him pushed out of the mud he got going pretty good, but we brought the car back to the garage and Bobby left the race track. We went to work on it and put just about a whole new rear end on the back. We changed everything and fixed the car so when we got through with it, you couldn't tell it had been hit or wrecked. Bobby came out there about noon on Saturday to tell me he was going back home to Alabama and when he walked up and saw that car he said, 'Which car is this?' And I said, 'This is the one you wrecked. We're ready to go.' He couldn't believe it. We started the race and ran awfully good all day long in the race. We outran Buddy and won the Daytona 500 and after the race Baker walked over and said, 'Damn, I just got out of that car and you win the Daytona 500. I can't believe it.' That was a big thrill for me."

YOU'RE RECOGNIZED AS AN AMERICAN HERO AND A GREAT RACER. HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL WHEN PEOPLE REFER TO YOU IN THOSE TERMS? "I was in World War II and I hit the beach June 6th at five o'clock in the morning and I was on the front lines all that time. I was in the Third Armored Division with Patton and have the medals and all I got, and all the purple hearts and stuff I went through while I was in service. Winning the championships we did and all of the safety features we helped design and put in the cars is something I remember. We were the first ones who came up with the jockey strap that went underneath the seat to hold the seat belts in place. We were the ones that put the window net in the car. There are so many things we helped NASCAR come along with and fix, so I've done a lot of different things in my life."

-credit: ford racing

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , HISTORY , NASCAR SPRINT CUP
Drivers Bobby Allison , Buddy Baker , David Pearson