By Tom Gillispie
Larry Mosher laughs when he’s reminded that drivers at Hickory Motor Speedway call 62-year-old Marshall Sutton “Old Man.”
“You know what I call him?” the 67-year-old Mosher asked rhetorically. “I call him the Younger Old Man.”
Sutton has won this season at HMS, and Mosher wants to join him in the win column.
Kevin Townsend and Kevin Eby have won the most Street Stock races this year at HMS, and Eby, Townseld, Sutton and Mosher are the top four in Street Stock points.
“I’ve not won a feature yet,” Mosher said. “I’ve been close several times. I’ve been second to both Kevins (Townsend and Eby) this year, second to Townsend twice and second to Eby once.”
As for that first win, “I’ll be an optimist,” he said. “I’ve been knocking on the door. We only have three more nights this year (counting last Saturday).
“I will not be comfortable retiring (from racing) until I win one. Then I can say I won on both dirt and asphalt.”
Mosher graduated from high school in 1965 in Rochelle, Ill. He was in the service in Korea for three years, then began racing dirt in 1971.
He says he got to like North Carolina when he was at Fort Bragg.
“I thought, ‘When I get to retirement, I’m coming back to North Carolina,’ ” he said with a smile in his voice.
He kept his promise to himself, as Mosher retired in 2002 and the Moshers moved to the Taylorsville area 11 years ago. Mosher didn’t start racing again until two years ago, when he raced at a dirt track in Cleveland County.
He first tried Hickory last year, his first season on asphalt. He’s fourth in Street Stock points this year, and he was seventh in last Saturday’s race.
“They say that, if you run dirt, you can run asphalt,” Mosher said. Now, he’s trying to prove it’s true.
He raced dirt Late Models for many years, but he’s contented himself with running Street Stocks at Hickory.
“Let's face it, expenses are out of sight,” he said. “When you’re retired and on a fixed income, it’d be crazy to think you could be competitive in Late Model. In Street Stocks, you can be competitive and not break the bank.
“The years I was running Late Models, it cost me a small fortune, but at least I working (at a power company) then.”
Mosher says he enjoys being “down here. I enjoy Hickory, the weather down here. I enjoy retirement. This racecar keeps me very busy.”
He also keeps busy helping fellow driver Dylon Wilson and Dylon’s dad Eric work on their car.
If he runs next season, he said, it’ll be in Street Stocks. His wife will help him decide if he races.
“I have to thank my wife Judy for all this,” he said. “I can do this because she lets me.”
The most memorable race of Mosher’s career came years ago at a five-eighths-mile track in Illinois.
“(The guy next to him) turned right and ran over me with his left-front (tire),” Mosher said. “I went over a wall and took out a 60-foot light pole; they had to cancel the rest of the show.
“I got an award at the end of the year for the Most Enlightening Night of the Year. I don’t know why it was enlightening, since the lights went out.
“It was fun when it was over, but it was scary at the time,” Mosher added. “The light pole snapped and fell on the car, and there were electric lights, wires and glass everywhere.”
Mosher, by the way, isn’t the oldest driver at HMS; that would be Bill Webb, the 78-year-old Classic Sportsman racer. Still, there’s a ton of experience on his team. Mosher’s helpers are Jim Hartung, 66, and Wiley Ballard, 73.
“I guess we're the old guys out there,” he said, laughing. “Us old guys still can get it done.”
(NOTE: This story appeared in the Hickory Daily Record in 2014.)
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