12 Hall of Famers Who Drove For Bud Moore
by Tom Jensen April 01, 2022
The best of the best drove for and won races with South Carolina team owner Bud Moore.
If you want a measure of how good a NASCAR team owner is at his job, it’s a pretty easy thing to figure out: Look at who drove for him and look at his record.
In the case of Bud Moore, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2011, the numbers don’t lie. A decorated veteran of the D-Day invasion during World War II, Moore returned home from the war to his native Spartanburg, South Carolina and built an enviable record first as a mechanic and crew chief and then as a team owner.
Moore won his first premier series championship as crew chief for Buck Baker (2013) during the 1957 season. In 1961, Moore founded his own team that would win consecutive premier series championships in 1962 and 1963. Moore would continue to field cars full-time through the 1996 season, winning 63 races, 43 poles and earning 298 top-five finishes.
As good as those number are, what’s even more impressive is that Moore had a dozen Hall of Famers compete in at least one race in a car owned and prepared by the man who referred to himself as “a country mechanic.”
Here are the 12 Hall of Famers who drove for Moore:
Cotton Owens, 1 start
Fellow Spartanburg native Cotton Owens (2013) drove a Moore-owned Pontiac in the second qualifying race for the 1961 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. A transmission failure relegated Owens to 16th in an 18-car field.
Fireball Roberts, 1 start
Although he spent most of the 1961 season driving for team owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick, Fireball Roberts (2014) was behind the wheel of Moore’s Pontiac for the 1961 Wilkes 200 at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he started sixth and finished second to fellow Hall of Famer Rex White (2015).
Cale Yarborough, 2 starts
A native of Timmonsville, South Carolina Cale Yarborough (2012) briefly drove Bud Moore cars early in his career, making one start each in 1967 and 68. In the 49th and final race of 1967, Yarborough started fifth and finished 12 in the Western Carolina 500 in a Moore-owned Mercury. The following year at Middle Georgia Raceway in Macon, Yarborough again qualified fifth in a Moore Mercury, but finished 21st in the Middle Georgia 500, the first race of the 1968 season.
David Pearson, 3 starts
Another Spartanburg Hall of Famer, David Pearson (2011) made a single start for Moore in the 53rd and final race of the 1962 season. Competing at Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway), Pearson qualified 10th and finished 11th in Moore’s No. 08 Pontiac. A decade later, Pearson opened the 1972 season in one of Moore’s Fords, finishing 26th at Riverside International Raceway and fourth at Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway).
Rex White, 5 starts
The 1960 premier series champion, Rex White (2015) spent most of his career as an owner-driver, but in 1964, he made five starts in Moore-owned Mercury stock cars. White’s best finish was in the 1964 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he qualified 13th and finished third.
Darrell Waltrip, 5 starts
After campaigning his own cars for most of the 1973 season, Darrell Waltrip (2012) joined forces with Moore for five of the final six races of the year. Their first race together turned out to be their best, as Waltrip drove Moore’s Ford to an eighth-place finish in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Bobby Isaac, 19 starts
The 1973 season saw 1970 premier series champion Bobby Isaac (2016) move to Moore’s Ford team, but the relationship proved short-lived: In the Talladega 500 in August, Isaac radioed Moore to get a relief driver ready. Isaac pitted, got out of his car and walked away from the sport, claiming voices he heard in the cockpit told him to get out of the car. During the 1973 season, Isaac had five top-five and six top-10 finishes driving for Moore.
Benny Parsons, 31 starts
Benny Parsons (2017) spent the 1981 season behind the wheel of Moore’s No. 15 Ford and it proved to be a productive pairing. Parsons won three times on the season, capturing race victories at Nashville Speedway, Texas World Speedway and Richmond International Raceway (now Richmond Raceway).
Dale Earnhardt, 60 starts
Concerned that his cars weren’t good enough to win consistently with, team owner Richard Childress (2017) told driver Dale Earnhardt (2010) that he ought to go drive for Moore for a couple of years. And that’s exactly what happened, as Earnhardt drove for Moore in 1982 and 1983, winning three races and posting 16 top-five finishes in 60 starts.
Bobby Allison, 96 starts
Leader of the famed “Alabama Gang” of racers, Bobby Allison (2011) had two stints driving for Moore. The first came in 1967, when Allison posted a single top-10 finish in four starts. From 1978-80, Allison drove Moore’s Fords to 14 victories and 44 top fives in 92 starts. One of his most memorable victories during that time occurred during the 1978 Daytona 500, when Moore had to rebuild Allison’s car after a crash earlier during Daytona Speedweeks.
Buddy Baker, 99 starts
The pairing of Buddy Baker (2020) and Moore produced five race victories and 46 top-five finishes from 1974 to 1977. Their biggest year together was 1975, when Baker swept both Talladega races and won the final two races of the year: at Atlanta in the penultimate race and then, the season finale at Ontario Motor Speedway. More than half of Baker’s 23 starts that season produced top-five finishes.
Joe Weatherly, 110 starts
The most successful pilot who drove for Moore was unquestionably Joe Weatherly (2015), who won successive premier series championships for his team owner. From 1961 to 1964, Weatherly won 20 races and posted 67 top-five finishes, including a remarkable 38 in 51 starts during his first championship season of 1962.