And so it came to be at Knoxville last week, that the legendary late model star known as Billy Moyer announced that he’ll soon be going into semi-retirement mode. And it surprised absolutely nobody. He’d been hinting at it for a while as he prepared for a future life of car building and looking out his office window to gaze upon the 800 trophies in his vault. A sight he’d not really thought about much or had full appreciation of. He’d simply been too busy to think about what they all meant most likely.
|Pat Miller Photo|
The strange thing though, for some who are on the outer fringes of the sport, is that his announcement came and went with not much in the way of a big fuss for one of the most successful drivers in dirt racing history. He holds a special place, having undertaken a career that puts him in the rarefied air of Kinser, Hearn, Swindell and a few others. It feels like there should very well be a celebration. Some kind of farewell mini tour or other special event perhaps. But one thing is clear, the fact that there’s not a huge reaction from the fans or the industry, probably represents the way that Moyer wanted the situation handled…with little fanfare.
For a generational talent, Moyer never seemed to give off much in the way of sideshows, gimmicks, or attention seeking. He’s about his business, and goes about it with a lunch pail attitude that many fans can appreciate. He battled with the best of the best for over 30 years, and did so with a tireless spirit of hard work, precision and grace despite the challenges that touring full time to make a living present. When Moyer is talked about around the campfire in the pits, the conversation turns to two things. 1. Remember the time that Moyer (insert one of many heroic performances over his career. 2. Is Moyer or Bloomquist the greatest super late model driver of all time?
You almost never hear anything about him driving anybody recklessly or questionable behavior on or off the track, or even much in the way of unsavory victory lane interviews. And maybe that’s why the buzz seems less than it should be. He did it with class. Some might say there’s just not much personality there. They’d be wrong. Upon watching interviews from over the years, one gets a feel that there is a careful speaker delivering a well thought out response, or simply stating that he might not be sure of an answer just yet. And he does it with the familiar grin through his versions of facial hair over the years.
So even though he’d probably not appreciate a huge sendoff with fireworks and cameras going off every half second, we’d like to pay homage to him here and wish him nothing but the best of luck in his future endeavors. He’s earned a special place among the greats of the sport, one that may be understated by attention, but justified by his results. He’s earned his time off, to do whatever he likes and owes nobody in the sport much of anything.
Now then..about that greatest driver in late model history debate…we declare!
The answer to that question, will always be in the eye of the beholder, both drivers dominated against great competition so simply put, why not just enjoy the debate and keep it as it is, a question without a real answer, but a great conversation starter, a part of the history of the sport that will forever be talked about and brought up. And if somebody should pick one over the other…so be it, so long as another person in the conversation is there to take up the side of the other. Have at it!!