A champion of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee passed away last week.
Carl Moore, a co-founder of Bristol Motor Speedway and a Tennessee senator in the 1970s and ’80s, helped make Bristol what it is today.
When Moore and Larry Carrier sat down to sketch out the beginnings of Bristol Motor Speedway on a napkin at a Bluff City Highway burger joint in 1960, they could not have known they were planting the seeds of a multimillion-dollar tourist attraction that would put Bristol on the map and bring as many as 160,000 people to the area two weekends each year.
If that had been all Moore had done to help Bristol, it would have been an extraordinary life worthy of great celebration, but that is only one part of the strong legacy of entrepreneurship and public service Moore leaves behind. As a legislator, he was a constant advocate for the region. His influence also helped the drive to restore the Paramount Theatre, the train station and the movement to designate Bristol as the Birthplace of Country Music.
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Known as the consummate Southern gentleman, Moore was said to be extremely pleasant, congenial and sharp. He was usually the smartest man in the room but never acted like he knew it.
His goal was to make the area better, and he dedicated much of his life to make that happen. Through the growth of the speedway out of the pasture of a dairy farm, and the development that came with it, combined with the renovation of the Paramount and the train station, Moore’s work helped shape Bristol into the vibrant economic engine of the region it is today.
Bristol has lost a friend, an advocate and a visionary. His gentle counsel and voice of common sense will be missed. The fruits of his labor will be remembered forever.