War Hero, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bud Moore Remembered on D-Day

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For most fans, Monday June 6th probably passed like most Mondays throughout the NASCAR season.
They debated Ross Chastain vs. Everybody bruhaha from St. Louis. They enjoyed reminiscing about Joey Logano's overtime win over Kyle Busch at World Wide Technology Raceway. And they admired how AJ Allmendinger had won Saturday afternoon's Xfinity race in Oregon and finished 10th in Sunday afternoon's Cup race in Illinois.
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It is safe to say that some may even have remembered 78 years ago, in June 1944 at dawn on the coast of north-west France.
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There, an 18-year-old soldier from Spartanburg, S.C. named Walter "Bud" Moore ashore with his water-cooled machine gun on Utah Beach as the world's largest military force invaded Europe to usher in the end of World War II. The future NASCAR team owner and 2011 Hall of Famer inductee was with Company D, 1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division in Normandy on D-Day.
"It was kind of an experience, I can tell you that," said Moore, who died in 2017 at the age of 92 years later in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "They took us away two days earlier because they said it was going to be a dry run that ended up on an English beach. But when I saw those 5 or 6,000 ships as far as the eye could see, I said to some of my buddies, “Guys I can tell you this, this is not a dry run. That's real.' I've never seen so many ships before."
Moore recounted how he nearly drowned because the sailor piloting his landing craft couldn't get close enough to the beach. Instead of getting to within 150 meters of the sand, the door fell down to 200 meters. "It was supposed to be knee-deep water, but it was shoulder-high," he said. "I had a 51-pound backpack and a machine gun tripod, and I stepped in a shell hole and went under. Eventually I got out and then spent some time on a sand dune spitting out water and cleaning my eyes. I looked around and couldn't believe what was going on. War is war and war is hell… I can tell you that.”
He went inland towards Paris with General George Patton. He spent nine straight months at the front, sweeping relentlessly through France and into Germany. "We killed everything that moved," he said. “Men, women, soldiers, children, animals. That's the way it was. But the Germans would have done the same.”
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Moore was awarded two Bronze Stars for Heroic Action and five Purple Hearts for combat-related wounds. The first bronze was for staying at the front for nine months without a break. The second came when he and his driver arrested 19 Germans hiding in a regimental headquarters during the Battle of the Bulge. In addition to Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, he was honored for his participation in the Siege of Bastogne.
He was discharged as a sergeant in late 1945. He returned to Spartanburg, married his longtime girlfriend Betty, and began selling and repairing cars. He once described himself as a "country mechanic who loved making them work". But he never raced seriously himself, preferring to work under the hood rather than in the cockpit.
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When NASCAR went live in the late 1940s, he began using cars for local drivers. He was team captain for 1957 champion Buck Baker. He formed his own Grand National Company (now the Cup Series) in 1961 and promptly won the 1962 and 1963 championships with Joe Weatherly. He was also involved with SCCA Trans-Am and NASCAR Grand American Racing. He has been honored by every major motorsport hall of fame in the country.
The story goes on

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