Moore, who drove from '49 to '55, dies at age 95

FREWSBURG, N.Y. -- Lloyd Moore, who was recognized as NASCAR's oldest former driver, has died at his home in western New York. He was 95.

Moore died in his sleep Sunday in Frewsburg, in the home where he was born in 1912, according to NASCAR's Web site.

James Bailey, Moore's son-in-law who will preside at his funeral as pastor of Wheeler Hill United Methodist Church, said Tuesday evening that Moore had been in generally good health until the day he died.

"He didn't sleep well Saturday night, fell asleep around 5 a.m., and his wife couldn't wake him up Sunday afternoon," Bailey said.

Moore won his lone NASCAR title in Winchester, Ind., and finished fourth in the 1950 standings. He drove from 1949 to 1955 in the Grand National series against Lee Petty, Glenn "Fireball" Roberts and other contemporaries.

"Lloyd was a connection to the origin of NASCAR," former driver Richard Petty said in a statement. "Talking to him was like taking a trip down memory lane for me, because he raced against my dad. I still have memories of those races. He would come by the house after a lot of the races because he and daddy were good friends."

The son of a farmer, Moore was a school bus driver in the early 1930s and worked as a mechanic in a Studebaker garage. For 17 years, he ran the school bus garage for the Frewsburg Central School District, about 80 miles south of Buffalo, until retiring in 1974.

In an interview with The Buffalo News last year, he said he enjoyed watching what NASCAR has become but lightheartedly complained there was "too much baloney," with the hourlong pre-race show and sponsorships.

In his day, he said, he'd drive overnight to a race, unload the trunk, then roll the same car out on the track.

"We just stuck a number on the side, took 'em down and raced 'em," Moore said. "Today they talk about putting in a half-pound of air. When we raced, we just made sure we had air in the tires. The suits these guys wear, they're spotted with advertisements."

He made his NASCAR debut on Oct. 2, 1949, at Heidelberg Raceway in Pittsburgh, Pa., finishing sixth behind Lee Petty.

His final start came on Sept. 5, 1955, at Darlington. He finished 24th in a 69-car field that included winner Herb Thomas, Everett "Cotton" Owens, Roberts and Petty.

Richard Petty remembered him as "a great driver and a great person."

"I knew Lloyd from the time I was a young kid and I am proud to say that we developed a great friendship over the years," he said.

Moore is survived by his wife of 61 years, Virginia, and six daughters. The funeral will be Wednesday.