• September 22, 2019

HEAD TURNER: Age doesn’t slow Midkiff drag racer Joe Moore - Odessa American: Local News

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HEAD TURNER: Age doesn’t slow Midkiff drag racer Joe Moore

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Posted: Friday, July 5, 2019 10:32 am

Joe Moore’s canary yellow 1932 Ford Model B pickup stands out in a crowd.

The 78-year-old turns the same amount heads because of his age when he steps out of the driver’s cab.

Moore has been racing his 1932 Ford Model B, which he inherited from his nephew, for the last 19 years.

"My nephew passed away and he left it in his will for me to have it,” Moore said. “I hauled it on a trailer to the house and it was a basket case.

"Over the years, I put it together and I took it just to show it as a rat rod, because it wasn't painted. I went to the track and they let me drive it down the track and I got bit by the fever."

Moore began racing in 1962, took a break and started again in 2000 when he inherited the 1932 Ford Model B. The pickup has a Chevy small block 427, which he said gives it a heartbeat.

The 78-year-old is from a small town in the panhandle named Olton. Moore currently lives in Midkiff, which is about 35 miles south of Midland.

Moore races in Amarillo, Penwell, Hobbs, N.M., and Roswell, N.M. He also mentioned he completes in nostalgia races at Little River Dragway about 11 miles south of Temple. Moore said he enjoys competing against quality drivers from across the country.

"I love it, especially if I beat them," Moore said with a smile. "A win is a win. If they red light, give me a win, I'll take it. If they break out, give me a win, I'll take it.”

During the Dirty South No Prep Series June 28 and 29 at Penwell Knights Raceway at Caprock Motorplex, Moore raced against cars that were half a century newer than his pickup.

Rocky Thompson said he has been friends with Moore for 35 years.

The 63-year-old from Big Lake enjoys watching his friend of more than three decades compete against younger competitors.

“I'm proud of Joe,” Thompson said. “He loves that 1932 (pickup)."

Gary Gardenhire, the owner of Penwell Knights Raceway, said he has been friends with Moore for the last four years, but has known of him for much longer.

As someone who watches people from all walks of life, Gardenhire said that it’s special the see 5-year-old children and a 78-year-old man compete on the same track.

"It's fun watching him," Gardenhire said. "We start kids off at 5 years old. Of course, they don't get to race the adults, but to see them from 5 years old all the way up to 78 is shows the sport is for everybody."

Moore retired about three years ago at 75, but he doesn’t plan on stepping away from the race track anytime soon. He explained that he hopes to be racing for another 12 years.

"I set my goal to be racing until I'm 80, but I don't take any medicine, so I might have to go ahead and try for 90," Moore said.

Gardenhire doubled down on Moore’s expectation to drive until he’s 90 years old.

"Maybe once he reaches that goal, his next goal will be 100,” Gardenhire with a laugh.

Odessa, TX

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