Bud Moore and Junie Donlavey have storied histories with Ford Motor Company and NASCAR Winston Cup racing that spans 50 years. Even though both car owners have had their struggles in recent years, they have gotten the 2000...
Bud Moore and Junie Donlavey have storied histories with Ford Motor Company and NASCAR Winston Cup racing that spans 50 years.
Even though both car owners have had their struggles in recent years, they have gotten the 2000 season off to a good start as both of their cars qualified for Sunday's Daytona 500. Derrike Cope drove the No. 15 Fenley-Moore Motorsports Taurus to an impressive sixth-place showing in the second twin 125 while rookie candidate Ed Berrier piloted Donlavey's No. 90 Hills Brothers Taurus to a 13th-place finish in the same race. Moore and Donlavey, who each received the Spirit of Ford Award last year -- the highest honor the manufacturer can bestow in racing -- spoke about returning to Daytona and making the race.
JUNIE DONLAVEY --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus -- WHAT WERE YOU GOING THROUGH YESTERDAY? "We thought we had a pretty good car that would run good, but when we got lost in that draft back there, boy, I'm telling you...We were running 16th with about 25 laps to go and the 15th-place car looked like maybe three-quarters of a mile ahead and we didn't have any help, but he got back up there and it took some good driving to do it." WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BACK IN THIS RACE AGAIN? "We've been down here so many times under-financed and getting in by the skin of our teeth and that kind of stuff. Now that we've got Hills Brothers we feel like we've got something good to work with and when we had Heilig-Meyers we were pretty decent. In working with Ed (Berrier), he's an up-and-coming driver and he's got a lot of experience even though it's not in Winston Cup, but he's got a lot of knowledge about a race car and he's good to work with. I just had to bring it to his attention that the driver was the most important part of this deal and for him to put his mind on driving and not worry about the mechanical part of it." DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST TRIP TO DAYTONA TO COMPETE IN THE 500? "In 1959 we came down here, we had a group with a guy who had bought a T-Bird. He lived in Orlando and was a doctor, so we were down here with him. We had run the beach through '58 with the modifieds and every now and then we'd run a strictly stock car down there, but we came over here in '59 and worked with that group. I think we had Curtis Turner driving for us. Anyway, it was just kind of a put together deal and then in the 60's we started coming down here with the '60 Ford and we've been running down here every year." WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES OF DAYTONA? "We've had a lot of good runs down here to be as underfinanced as bad as we were. I look back over some of the times when we had the '79 Torino. We had Bill Dennis down here and right at the last pit stop we were running second in that race and he pitted and left the clutch out of it taking off. Dick Brooks had a lot of good runs down here. Brooks was as good at this track as anybody I've ever seen. But, when (Ken) Schrader won that 125-miler and we thought we had that race won down here in '87. We pitted for fuel and when he took off he made a rookie mistake and over-revved it, so we wound up finishing seventh in that. We've had some good runs and we enjoy coming down here. Every year you come down here it's a new experience. Everybody gets better and it just costs more money, but we feel pretty good now that we've seen what Ed can do and we're looking to have a pretty decent 500." IT'S A NEW EXPERIENCE EVERY YEAR, BUT IS IT MORE STRESSFUL EVERY YEAR? "No, I never let any of this ever be stressful for the simple reason that I got in racing in 1949 in the modifieds and it was for fun. I never thought about the money part of it and I've got to keep that view of racing because if you're gonna sit around and worry every minute of the day about how good you're gonna run, then, if you do run good you don't experience a good feeling because you worry too much about it. So, I don't worry about it and I enjoy every minute of it." WHAT WOULD YOU BE HAPPY WITH ON SUNDAY OR IS IT JUST GETTING IN THE RACE? "That was the main thing on this trip. When you have rookies down here this is a tough race to get in to and Ed kind of proved that he can do a pretty good job with the way he came up from where he had to start and go out of the draft. We didn't know the car was as good as it was, but we did a lot of testing and practicing on old tires to make it run good near the end of a run and it paid off yesterday. We feel pretty good about it. Ed's a pretty careful driver. He's not somebody that's going out there and try to wreck, like some of them do. If we could get anywhere in the top 25 we feel like we would be in pretty good shape." IS IT STILL AS MUCH FUN COMING HERE TODAY AS IT WAS IN '59? "It's still a lot of fun because if I had to take racing as a job, I don't believe I ever would have stayed in it. But I made a living working on automobiles and body and fender repair and racing was just the fun part of it to relieve the work ethic. We worked 10 times harder on the race car than we did making a living, but, if it couldn't be fun I wouldn't have fooled with it. I have fun today. We know our limitations and, even under-funded, we've had some pretty good runs down through the years so that makes it all worthwhile." DO YOU THINK YOU'RE ONE OF THE FEW IN THIS GARAGE AREA WHO STILL HAS FUN? "It's strictly a job with these guys. They have so much money that they've got to produce. They pay their help such huge salaries that everybody has got to perform. I think it puts so much pressure on them that I don't see how they even get any enjoyment out of it." WHY DO YOU STILL STAY IN THIS SPORT AND CONTINUE TO COMPETE AGAINST TEAMS THAT HAVE SUCH HIGH BUDGETS? Because I've made more friends in racing than I could have made in 20 lifetimes. I've got some real good friends here, I enjoy being around them and this is the only way that you can do it. If I stepped out of racing, I've still got a lot of friends at home, but you would never get to see any of these people if you were not involved in racing today."
BUD MOORE --15-- Fenley-Moore Motorsports Taurus -- NOTE: Moore flew back Spartanburg, S.C. yesterday, but conducted the following interview over the phone this morning from the team's race shop. WHY DIDN'T YOU STAY IN DAYTONA? "I came back last night to try and get some fire under these guys and get ready for Rockingham. We want to get everything squared away so we're ready to go, but, I tell you, we had a hell of a car yesterday. That right there is something that, if you don't make the Daytona 500 at the first of the year, you're in deep trouble because that's what helps build your team up and put a fire under them. But for us with a new team and a new driver, to go down there and finish sixth, that was unbelievable. I can already see how excited the guys are here back at the shop this morning. This means a whole bunch because we're still looking for sponsorship, and I'm hoping this will open some eyes and help get things rolling. We're looking forward to this weekend because I think we've got as good a shot as anybody at winning that thing." WHAT MEMORIES STAND OUT IN YOUR CAREER? "Besides winning the championship with Joe Weatherly in '62 and '63, that was a good deal, but the thing that always flashes back to me is winning the Daytona 500 in 1978 with Bobby Allison. Bobby Allison was another one of the greatest drivers that ever came along and he won quite a few races with us. That feat of winning the Daytona 500, every driver and every car owner or everybody that's been involved, the biggest thrill has always been to win the Daytona 500. Right now it's a thrill to win the Brickyard 400, but, still, there's something about winning the Daytona 500 that stands out above all of them. One reason is because it's the first race of the season. Everybody's been off and all the fans are waiting to see the new season start. I don't know, it's just something that the Daytona 500 is a race that stands out by itself and is one of the most prestigious races in NASCAR racing today." WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT WINNING THAT DAYTONA 500? "We ran awful good all day and we led the race most of the way. I tell you what, I didn't know what to think I was so thrilled. When we came around to get the white flag I was just hoping and praying. In fact, I even got down on my knees and I was just hoping we would get back to the start-finish line and we did. That was one of the biggest thrills in my whole career is knowing I have won the Daytona 500." WHAT'S IT BEEN LIKE FOR YOU THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS TRYING TO FIND SPONSORSHIP AND NOT BEING ABLE TO COMPETE IN THIS EVENT? "It's been hard on us, especially when you've been in the sport as long as I have. I've been around since 1947 when we made our first start to where it is today, and to sit home and watch on TV hurt me real bad. I've got racing in my blood. I've been doing it all my life. One of the big thrills I've always gotten is to see my car go out to the starting line on Sunday morning, and I don't think that will ever change." I GUESS IT WILL BE DIFFERENT WATCHING ON TV AT LEAST KNOWING THAT YOUR CAR IS IN THE RACE, RIGHT? "I haven't made up my mind yet, I may come back. We're getting ready for Rockingham and our Las Vegas car is done. I had to just come back and tend to some business, but it's possible I'll be back on Saturday night."