The death of Walter “Bud” Moore led me to reminisce about other stock car racing heroes I knew during my time traveling with the gypsy troupe that follows NASCAR from coast to coast.
A “troupe,” as opposed to a “troop,” refers to a group of entertainers. I found our troupe wildly entertaining.
In the 1990s fulltime and part-time for many years afterwards, I worked for Hal Hamrick at FasTrack, a weekly tabloid. Hal and I made many long trips together, and a lot of what I know about the heroes of my youth came from stories relayed by Hal while we were driving to and from Daytona Beach, or a trade show in Syracuse, N.Y., or just sitting around FasTrack’s Gastonia, N.C., office. I know the stories well because I heard most of them more than once.
Hal broadcast races for the old Performance Racing Network. A prized possession of his was a wooden Coca-Cola crate he sat on while bringing a race from Martinsville to radio listeners. Hal worked in public relations for Chrysler, on both the NASCAR circuit and the NHRA. He ran tracks in Atlanta, Hickory, Bristol and a wildly successful dirt bullring in Woodstock, Ga., at various times, and broadcast the first Daytona 500 in 1959. Hal died in 2008 at age 79. His was a friendship I cherished. I learned from him information about Fred Lorenzen, Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Bobby Isaac and Junior Johnson, among many others, that I never could have gotten elsewhere.