by Frank Hyde
Lloyd Moore And His Race Car
The big Frewsburg man with the quick smile and the powerful figure, talks quietly of the gasoline duels across the length and breadth of the east. He has taken the green and the checkered flags at Hillsboro, NC, the old beach course in Daytona Beach, FL, Detroit, MI, Bainbridge and Dayton in Ohio, Kokomo, IN, Vernon, NY, most of the New England states, and closer to home, Mike's Place, Leon Speedway, Satan's Bowl of Death, Portville, and Erie, Clearfield, and Butler in Pennsylvania, plus others.
"It was an experience, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but I loved every minute of it," the big man says solemnly. "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," he added.
Moore raced everything that ran in those days except Indy cars and the midgets. "I drove mainly for Julian Buesink, now living in Findley Lake and operating a garage in Clymer," he explained. "We had two cracking good mechanics in Lee Darling and Jack Kemp."
Buesink also sponsored late models and sportsman class cars but in those early times (the 1930s) jalopies were coming into their own but were not fitted (until later) with rollbars. "When you went over it was Lord help you because no one else could," Moore smiled.
One of Lloyd's toughest finishes was, believe it or not, against a teammate, another Buesink sponsored man, Bill Rexford. "We were at Bainbridge," he relates, "and we set the two fastest qualifying times so we were put to the back of the pack for the start. Well, we worked our way up to the front, Bill on top and me right behind him. Then it was dog eat dog. We pulled away from the others to set up a two-car race and Bill hung on to win it. Bill was all steamed up and he had some hot words for Buesink, probably thinking both cars could have been wrecked and maybe both of us hurt or killed. Eventually we all laughed it off after Buesink remarked, "Well, you came here to race didn't you?""
Another time Lloyd went off the track at Hillsboro and rolled but was not seriously hurt. He also left the track and piled up on the south turn of the old Daytona Beach course but again escaped with nothing hurt except his pride. "I realized how lucky I was when I took a look at the car. It resembled one that had gone through one of those compressors they have at the auto wrecking yards," he grinned.
A 150 miler at Dayton, Ohio provided Moore with another unforgettable test. He was driving one of Buesink's Fords in the 300-lapper and he managed to lead for the first 50 laps or so. Those home country boys, however, didn't think much of this interloper from Upstate New York stealing their thunder, so they doubled up on him, first one, then another, trying to run him into the ground. But Moore, in a bulldog exhibition, won it.
Moore does not subscribe to the theory of many, that racing fans attend hoping to see major crackups, someone hurt or killed. "I think they want to see close finishes," he said. "Good races from a fan's standpoint are not necessarily fast races but close ones right down to the flag. Fans like excitement, like the lead switching around, things like that, but I don't believe they hope to see anyone hurt."
Crews, he says, are more important now than in the old days. "They were always important to a driver," the Frewsburg native says, "but a good, modern crew can make a few minutes difference in these high speed days and that difference can be first or second place." Besides, he pointed out, the pits now have a lot of electronic equipment. "We used to watch a hand-written sign board held up by a crew member to determine how we stood in a race."
Tension builds up on long races he added. "It's about the only sport where there is no intermission, no quarter, or halftime rest period. If you are scheduled for 300 miles and you finish, you know you have done a day's work. The weariness and the heat (100 degrees or more inside a racing car) start catching up with you. The dirt and grime walls you in. It is not easy and you have to be blessed with a lot of stamina."
Those were ragged days, but Lloyd has seen only one driver killed. "That was at Leon," he recalled. "He didn't have rollbars but he did have a top. Someone talked him into chopping it down so it would look like the other jalopies. He went over and one of the windshield posts that had been sawed off crushed his head."
Lloyd Dennis Moore was born in Frewsburg and has always called the village home. He retired from racing in 1955 and later accepted a job as a bus driver for Frewsburg Central School. He was also in charge of the bus garage.
Racing was his sport. He played a little baseball around Frewsburg but the lure of the gas fumes and roaring motors finally got him.
Moore was employed for 19 years by Leonard Rhodes, who operated a Studebaker garage on Washington Street in Jamestown. Later, he went to Corry to hold down a job with Buesink's Ford garage.
Lloyd married the former Virginia Taylor, who is now employed at the First National Bank in Frewsburg. They have six daughters. The eldest, Virginia, is married and lives on Long Island. Louella is Mrs. Duane Nordland of Frewsburg. Mina Mae is Mrs. Ferdinand Tousignant of Montreal. Barbara is Mrs. Gary Lobb of Frewsburg. Penny is Mrs. Dennis Cline of Frewsburg and Linda is Mrs. James Bailey. Her husband is pastor of a church near Batavia. Sandy Hayes, an Indian girl, lived with the Moore family. She is now Mrs. James Hayes of Frewsburg.
No chat with Lloyd Moore about racing would be complete without mention of the dust and driving conditions at many small tracks. "At Leon, for instance," he pointed out, "there was a big maple tree at the head of the third turn. If you were not in the lead, you watched for the top of the tree to loom up above the cloud of dust and then you started your left turn."
"Carl Pintagro," Moore added, "drove a Buick as long as a locomotive. He won a race one time with that monster and I chased him home by a close margin. The dust and rocks he dug up showered down on me like a meteor. When it was over my goggles were broken and my head looked like someone had dumped a bucket of blood on me." Incidentally, that was the first time Lloyd ever drove a Ford with a V-8 motor.
Yes, man, those were rough and ready days in stock car racing and the grizzled old-timers who lived through them believe they were an important contribution to an era. Who can argue with them?
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.