Billy Moyer, Jr. has been on quite a roll over the past few weeks. The Batesville, Ark. driver has scored seven consecutive top-5 finishes, including two wins within that stretch. The No. 21jr car wheeled into victory lane most recently this past Saturday night when the 30-year-old pilot won the MARS Racing Series sanctioned Hall of Fame Classic at Indiana’s Brownstown Speedway and collected $10,000 in the process.
But unlike most other Dirt Late Model racers, Moyer’s season is, at least in a sense, just getting underway. This past March 8th, Moyer and wife Skyla welcomed their daughter Hallie to the world. However, there were complications that led to a prolonged hospital stay for the newborn. Needless to say, Moyer’s racing exploits were put on the back burner until his daughter began to show signs of improvement. He now reports that the baby is up to 100% which has allowed him to resume somewhat normal activities.
Moyer’s return to the track following his daughter’s arrival was not what he initially hoped for. During the time away from the track, the driver and car owner felt as though his team had lost step with the competition. But now things appear to be headed in the right direction.
“Yeah, we’re alright,” Moyer declared in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “I mean we kind of got behind in the first part of the summer with my daughter and everything. I fell behind and didn’t run worth a crap and got my butt handed to me so we just kind of scaled back and tried to re-evaluate a little bit. We changed some things and tried to stay close to home. We’ve been running pretty decent the past few weeks but, not to disrespect the guys we’ve been running against, we’ve not been lining up against Jimmy Owens, Rick Eckert, or Brandon Sheppard every night. That’s the thing, I’m not going to sit here and say how fast we are until we go outrun them guys. We’re running pretty good but we’re definitely not where we need to be yet.”
It can be difficult to find a good rhythm after having been off track for an extended period of time. And more, the weather in 2018 seems to have interfered with a significant number of races which further adds to the difficulty of getting into the swing of things. But Moyer isn’t using any of that as an excuse.
While he did score a World of Outlaws Late Model Series win at Mississippi’s Whynot Motorsports Park, other parts of his early season did not go as well.
“It’s my job to try to get the job done,” the driver stated. “We took that month or month-and-a-half off there and then the weather slowed us down, but we just kind of fell behind. We won that race at Meridian and ran pretty decent at East Bay, but other than that, we hadn’t ran very good.”
Moyer felt as if his team had recovered to some degree until the so called Hell Tour began.
“I thought we were okay but then we just got it handed to us in the Summer Nationals because we couldn’t get qualified in,” he explained. “Late in the night it’s all about track position and we were having to come from the back and we just weren’t good enough. So we decided to come back home and freshen up. We really went to work, changed a few things, and I think we got better. But we’re not a World 100 winner yet. I feel like we were a couple of years ago when we went up there and ran fourth but I don’t think we’re back to that step yet. At least we’re in the top-5 every night, and that Saturday night deal at Brownstown(MARS race), there were thirty cars there. Jameson was there, Chilton is running good, English has been running real good, and you had Gilpin, and K-Rob won the night before. There were some good cars there, for sure, and to beat them guys felt pretty good.”
Moyer is frequently asked on social media by fans if he intends to race at certain places. He explains that his decisions to go to one race over another are based on a great deal of consideration.
“I run my team and I own my team,” the Arkansas State University graduate pointed out. “I have good sponsorship and I have to make decisions that are smart for my team. It just doesn’t make sense to drive fifteen hours for two $5,000-to-wins when I can run within three hours for $3,000-to-win. You’ve got to make sense of that. At the end of the day, I’ve got to make sure I can pay my house payment, pay my race car hauler payment, pay the engine bills, the tire bills, I’ve got crew I have to pay. I have to make sure that whatever I do is smart. I usually just try to evaluate the weather, that’s the biggest thing, and then if there’s two or three places I could go, I try to evaluate how I’ve ran there before and the tire rule dictates it sometimes. And it depends on how the race pays back though the field. In some of these $5,000-to-win races, if it’s $1,000 for third, I’m probably not going to go.”
Moyer’s father, of course, is one of Dirt Late Model racing’s most legendary figures. Being raised so close to such a great competitor taught the second generation driver many lessons. And he hopes the fans have the same understanding he has regarding when and where he chooses to race.
“I got brought up a lot different than some of these younger drivers,” Moyer explained. “I’m out here washing tires with my other guy. I feel like I earn my way. I definitely had a kick start with my dad, having that last name especially, but I’m out here earning it, I feel like. I think that’s why I have the support that I have from sponsors. I just have to make the smartest decisions but sometimes the fans, they don’t really get mad, but they get irritated when I don’t go to a certain place where they expect me to be. But at the end of the day, I’m just trying to make the best decision for my team, my sponsors, and my family.”
Moyer is one of the most active dirt racers on social media which many fans seem to appreciate. But as will always be the case with those in the public eye, there are some who attempt troll.
“It’s not like I’m Michael Jordan or Tony Stewart,” Moyer said with a laugh. “It’s not like I have a million people that contact me. I catch the occasional few, but it is what it is. I’m pretty outspoken sometimes and I can take some stuff on myself, but when you talk about my dad, I really just post some stuff and try to be tongue-in-cheek and then let my followers, my friends, and my family really get on them people when they say stuff like that.
“I say imagine me talking about your dad or your son and a lot of times they delete their own stuff when they realize that something they said wasn’t cool,” he continued. “If I was to pop off, like I’ve seen some other athletes do, then you kind of walk into a fire. A lot of times I have stuff said to me and I say stuff back and a lot of the times they realize that wasn’t cool and they delete what they said. Like I said, I’m not Chase Elliott, or Tony Stewart, or Michael Jordan.”
But in the end, Moyer realizes the value of interacting with fans.
“There’s nothing cooler than getting those kids to send their pictures to me or some random 45-year-old guy in Kentucky with his wife to send me a picture and thank me for taking the time to take a picture with us,” he added. “If I cant take 45 seconds to sit there and take a picture and say hi, then I need to evaluate my life. If I’m just out there walking around then I’ve always got time to say something and I go out of my way when I see those kids come up to me. When I was growing up I had Rick Eckert, Bart Hartman, John Gill, those guys always talked to me. And Ronnie Johnson, Freddy Smith, and even Scott Bloomquist, went out of their way to talk to me back in the day. You never forget those drivers that did that and I love to have the impact that those guys had on me. That means more to me than anything. You know, I want to make a living and represent my sponsors well, but if I can make a kid smile that means a lot.”
The winner of more than 60 feature races says that marriage and fatherhood have had greater impacts on his life than anything racing related.
“It’s impacted me in a good way. Growing up with my dad being gone a lot I know I’m going to have to miss a few things with my daughter but my wife is supportive. She understands this is how I’ve got to pay the bills. But when my little girl looks up at me, there’s nothing like it. Right now I’m out here washing tires then we’ve got to unload this second car and get it washed, but then I’m going to head home and get to hold her and sit there and just do nothing but hold her. I’ve always loved kids and to have my own now is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and made me a better person. Whenever she gets older and goes to school and tells them her dad races, I hope I can make her proud.”