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WAID’S WORLD: Farewell To a Journalist, Confidant, Mentor And Friend

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NASCAR is a microcosm of our society. It is composed of people with all types of character, ethics and personality.

Most of them are liked, or at least accepted, by many of their peers.

But I can honestly say one of them was universally liked and respected. If there was one man in NASCAR who had no enemies, it was he.

His name was Robert Moore, known simply as Bob.

He’s no longer with us. He lost his battle with cancer a few days ago. But he left behind a legacy laced with achievement and filled with admiration and respect from his peers.

It started decades ago when Moore was the motorsports writer for the Charlotte Observer. He reported on several other sports but was he also one of a cadre of writers who regularly covered NASCAR, then a regional entity.

Moore’s reporting on NASCAR was precise and informative. It needed to be since Charlotte was considered the heart of stock car racing.

In time Moore became widely read among NASCAR fans. His pieces were entertaining and, more important, accurate.

Moore became so knowledgeable that he evolved into a source of information for his fellow writers.

I know he was for me.

When I was trying to find my around NASCAR in the early ‘70s, I got to know Moore. I admit I would consult him frequently. I had drivers who were reliable sources but I knew that Moore could be an invaluable one.

So I asked him plenty of questions. He always answered them willingly.

Over the years I have learned that writers who came after me also relied on Moore as a source of information. And they also said that he willingly complied. They respected him for it.

Moore moved on to become the public relations director for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s Winston Cup Series.

RJR’s role in NASCAR was tremendous. It was the lifeblood of the sport and thus Moore’s role was one of great importance and responsibility.

In my opinion he handled it well. I can recall consulting him about a one-on-one interview with CEO Jerry Long. You wouldn’t think a company boss would agree to a meeting with a mere motorsports writer but Long did. And he was candid and forthcoming.

I suspect Moore told him what Long could expect from me and not be evasive. Moore did his job.

Moore moved on to other journalistic endeavors. He wrote for publications and web sites. He was a prolific freelancer and blogger.

He seemingly remained omnipresent at media centers and press boxes.

Moore wasn’t all about work. He had an infectious laugh that everyone recognized. He laughed a lot because he loved to hear and tell stories.

He was the man who ran all the press box pools. There might have been a rule about cheering in the press box but nothing said you could not gamble.

Moore’s operation was precise and thorough. He organized pools of two dollars, five dollars, 10 dollars and 25 dollars. There was money to be made – if, of course, you had it to spend and were lucky.

Somehow, Moore and his wife Linda often took off season cruises. Where, we wondered, did he get the money for them? Profit from pools, perhaps?

Of course, we weren’t serious. Just having fun with Moore, who always responded with that laugh of his.

He also timed pit stops on his own. After each contender completed his stop Moore’s voice would resoundingly proclaim to the press box the result – “14.5! 14.5!”

Moore unintentionally created what became a regular procedure for the twin 125-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500.

Once when looking at the two pages of 125-miler lineups handed out in the media center, Moore noted that one field had far more, uh, “headstrong” drivers than the other. He predicted chaos.

“One lineup seems tame but look at who is in this other one,” Moore said. “I tell you this race is going to be a zoo and a half!”

For years afterward writers would pay close attention to the twin lineups, searching for the “zoo and a half,” a phrase that became a regular part of Daytona 500 coverage.

Moore kept working until his cancer prognosis. I was fortunate to talk to him once. He was upbeat, determined to recover.

“You came through with flying colors and I intend to do the same,” he said.

I wish he had. But at least we know he’s in a batter place.

During his life and career Moore established himself as a trusted journalist. More important he became a mentor and friend who earned respect from the entire NASCAR community.

Bob Moore did not have a single enemy. Not one.

EMAIL STEVE AT steve.waid@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW STEVE ON TWITTER: @SteveWaid

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Steve Waid

Steve Waid has been in motor sports journalism since 1972, the year he first started covering NASCAR, when he started his newspaper career at the Martinsville (Va.) Bulletin. From there Waid spent time at the Roanoke Times & World as well as NASCAR Scene, where he was the executive editor for 10 years. After retiring in 2010 he became the Vice President of Unplugged Auto Group for its website, MotorsportsUnplugged.com and has now joined POPULAR SPEED as an editor and columnist. Waid has won numerous writing awards and other such accolades. In January of 2014 he was inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame.