by Todd Peterson
May 20, 2008
NASCAR Pioneer Moore Was Always On The Fast Track
The Frewsburg native was a true pioneer and a legend in the sport of auto racing and was considered by NASCAR to be its oldest living driver when he died Sunday at his home with his wife of 61 years, Virginia, and his family at his side.
Moore left a lasting impression on nearly everyone he met, including those in the world of NASCAR. One of those with fond memories of Moore was racing legend Richard Petty, whose father, Lee, raced against Moore several decades back and was one of his closest friends.
"I was saddened to learn of Lloyd Moore yesterday. He was a joy to be around," said the 70-year-old Petty. "Lloyd was a connection to the origin of NASCAR. Talking to him was like taking a trip down memory lane for me because he raced against my daddy. I still have memories of those races. He would come by the house after a lot of those races because he and daddy were good friends. So I knew Lloyd from the time I was a young kid and I am proud to say we developed a friendship over the years. Lloyd was a great driver and a great person. He will truly be missed."
Moore lived all of his life in Frewsburg and spent his early years racing Model A Fords in Onoville and jalopies at the Penny Royal track in Leon until he and his teammate Bill Rexford moved up to NASCAR Grand National where he drove from 1949 to 1955.
The Grand National was the predecessor of the Sprint Cup, and Moore found both success and satisfaction, winning once in 49 races, finishing in the top five 13 times and in the top ten some 23 times.
That one win came in 1950 at Winchester Speedway in Indiana on a half-mile dirt track.
Some of his main rivals in those days were Buck Baker, Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner, Tim and Fonty Flock, along with the senior Petty.
"It was a good experience, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but I loved every minute of it," he said. "There were lots of tough guys on the circuit then, pioneers of sorts. Most were short of money and equipment, but tough as all get out when they got behind the wheel of a car."
By 1955, Moore decided it was time to retire from racing and he accepted a position as a bus driver at Frewsburg Central School and was the head mechanic for the district until his retirement in 1974.
According to a recent article about Moore that was published in the New York Times a few weeks ago, he explained why he gave up racing professionally, especially after having some real success.
"My driving career ended because I realized I should be doing more work on the farm," he stated. "I had a lot of kids to feed and I had a mother and father to take care of. I had been on the road long enough. It was the right decision. I never wanted to go back to racing. I haven't been to a track since. It seems like when you give it up, you give it up."
He was honored with induction into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 for his lifetime of racing accomplishments.
Moore and his wife raised six daughters and were the proud grandparents of 14 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren and all live within a few miles.
Still, Moore's passion for racing never left him, right to the end of his days.
"But if I didn't have such a big family, I would have raced probably another 10 years," he said in the Times article. "There's nothing like sliding into a car and competing. I like speed. I like competition. I miss it."
We'll miss him, too.