By Team Ford Performance Correspondent
It has been a hot spring and early summer at Bud Moore’s farm on the outskirts of town.
The thermometer pushed into the high 90s in June, and the famous Carolinas humidity came with the heat.
This didn’t slow Moore, however. It simply caused some adjustments in his schedule.
Moore turned 90 years old on Memorial Day. Away from a competitive role in Sprint Cup racing for 15 years, he keeps a schedule that hides his age.
Moore raises Santa Gertrudis cattle on his expansive farm set in rolling hills several miles from the site of Bud Moore Engineering, the shop from which winning Fords were released into NASCAR racing for many years. Moore has trimmed the size of his herd over the past few years, but he and sons Greg and Daryl remain quite busy on the farm, this despite the fact that Moore had a health scare earlier this year.
Moore was hospitalized several days but rebounded quickly after doctors discovered an issue with his medication.
At about the same time, the city of Spartanburg honored Moore by naming a portion of Beaumont Avenue, the street where his shop was located, “Walter M. ‘Bud’ Moore Avenue”.
Converse College, which had been a neighbor to Moore for many years, now owns the former Bud Moore Engineering property. Moore sold the buildings and everything in them in 1999 and raced a few more times in 2000 before departing from the sport that had ruled much of his life.
“I got out at a good time and got a good price for everything,” Moore said. “I was pretty fortunate. I did miss it really bad, though. So did Daryl and Greg.”
The Moores busied themselves making repairs on the farm, an ongoing process that changes with the seasons.
A few days ago, after several days of rain, Moore moved rolls of hay to his barn.
“I get somebody else to cut it, but I put it in the barn myself,” said Moore, quickly adding that he has an air-conditioned tractor. He tends to work in the early morning and late evening hours to avoid the heat, he said.
Moore also stays linked to NASCAR, attending Hall of Fame events and serving on the sanctioning body’s appeals committee.
“Somebody told me that if you sit down and don’t do anything, you’re going to die,” he said. “I get out and go. It’s been so hot lately, I’ve tried to get everything done by 9 in the morning. I’d rather be in here in the den in the recliner than out in that heat.”
Moore eats lunch almost every day at the Peach Blossom Diner, a popular Spartanburg “meat-and-three” restaurant where he has a standing reservation. He’s joined by friends from within and outside racing as they attempt to solve the world’s problems, both great and small. Those who attend these lunches say the entertainment is top-notch.
On most days, Moore is the only NASCAR Hall of Famer dining at the Peach Blossom. David Pearson also has been in the group, but Pearson has been out of the loop in recent months as he recovers from a stroke.
Many stories -- some true -- tend to flow at these gatherings. Moore, a Ford Performance icon who won Cup championships as both a crew chief and car owner, is an excellent spinner of tales.
“I remember the first race I had with Buddy Baker at Bristol (in 1974),” he said. “I told him we needed to put in a strap to support his helmet because his neck was going to hurt going on the banking so much. He said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to need that.’
“Well, he had run about a hundred laps and he told me, ‘My neck hurts. I’ve got to have relief.’ I told him there wasn’t much time left, to just slow down and hang in there.
“We were lapped, but we got back in it and were leading. He kept hollering. I told him there were only about 40 laps left when there were probably 150 to go. I just kept talking to him.
“Finally, it got near the end and Cale (Yarborough) was running behind him. I told him on the last lap to stay way down in Turn 3 and put the left wheels down on the white line and stay there. ‘If you don’t,’ I said, ‘Cale is going to nail you in the butt and get you out of the way.’
“So Buddy goes down there and instead of doing what I told him he drove it in too hard and went up to the wall, and Cale drove under him and won the race!”