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Elzie Wylie "Buddy" Baker, Jr. (January 25, 1941 – August 10, 2015) was an American NASCAR driver and sports commentator.

Early life Edit

Elzie Wylie Baker, Jr. was born in Florence, South Carolina, the son of two time winner of the NASCAR Championship and a Hall of Fame member Buck Baker and brother of fellow racer Randy Baker. Baker began his NASCAR career in 1959. In 1970, he became the first driver to ever exceed 200 mph (320 km/h) on a closed course. This World Record feat was accomplished in the Chrysler Engineering blue No. 88 Charger Daytona, which is being restored in Detroit. The same year, with a victory at the Southern 500, he became the first NASCAR driver to win the same race at the same venue as his father. (Buck did it in 1953.)

Career Edit

During his career, Baker won nineteen races including the 1980 Daytona 500, NASCAR's most prestigious race. His victory remains the fastest Daytona 500 ever run, with an average speed of 177.602 mph (285.809 km/h).

Baker is one of nine drivers to have won a Career Grand Slam, by winning the sport's four majors – the Daytona 500, Aaron's 499, Coca-Cola 600, and the Southern 500.; Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Kevin Harvick are the other eight to have accomplished the feat. He is the only one of the eight to not win the championship.

He generally raced part-time, competing in every race in only three seasons. He owned a car with Danny Schiff from 1985 to 1989, and was instrumental in the career of Jimmy Spencer. He competed in two International Race of Champions series. His final race in NASCAR was in 1992.

Baker helped run the Buck Baker Racing School with his brother for a number of years.

Baker was the first driver to exceed the 200 mph mark on March 24, 1970 on a closed course test run. His speed was clocked at 200.447 miles per hour (322.588 km/h); a record that was broken later that year by Bobby Isaac. It was recently found out that the Isaac car had two four barrel carbs on it, therefore that run was not done in a legal car.

Commentator Edit

From 1991 until 2000, he became a television commentator on The Nashville Network and later (1994–2000) races produced by their World Sports Enterprises division, including CBS races. After the 2000 season Baker could still be heard on TNN, calling the American Speed Association races in 2001 and 2002 with Bob Dillner (their final race call was for the 2002 Winchester 400). During 2007, Baker could be heard as the part-time co-host of The Driver's Seat with John Kernan on Sirius Satellite Radio. From 2011 until 2015, he co-hosted Late Shift with Brad Gillie, and Tradin' Paint with Jim Noble on SiriusXM.

Death Edit

Baker resigned effective immediately on July 7, 2015 due to inoperable lung cancer, stating "Do not shed a tear. Give a smile when you say my name". He died on August 10, 2015 at his home in Catawba County, North Carolina. During the August 2015 race weekend at Michigan International Speedway, all three NASCAR series honored Baker by placing stickers on their cars side to remember the legacy that Baker had left behind.

Awards Edit

In 1997, Baker joined his father as an inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama. He, previously, had been inducted into the Charlotte Motor Speedway Court of Legends in 1995, and into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1997. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

Motorsports career results Edit

NASCAR Edit

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Grand National Series Edit

Winston Cup Series Edit

Daytona 500 results Edit
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
1961 Buck Baker Racing Chrysler 28 40
1962 15 29
1964 David Walker Plymouth 42 29
1965 Buck Baker Racing Dodge 18 40
1966 Chevrolet 36 32
1967 Fox Racing Dodge 9 28
1968 13 30
1969 1 5
1970 Owens Racing Dodge 2 27
1971 Petty Enterprises Dodge 6 2
1972 31 34
1973 K&K Insurance Racing Dodge 1 6
1975 Bud Moore Engineering Ford 13 20
1976 5 33
1977 8 3
1978 M.C. Anderson Racing Oldsmobile 31 7
1979 Ranier-Lundy Racing Oldsmobile 1 40
1980 1 1
1981 Ellington Racing Oldsmobile 6 4
1982 Buick 4 8
1983 Wood Brothers Racing Ford 5 3
1984 5 38
1985 Baker-Schiff Racing Oldsmobile 7 4
1986 17 26
1987 7 4
1988 18 9
1991 Osterlund Racing Pontiac 16 37
1992 Close Racing Oldsmobile 24 11
1994 Moroso Racing Ford DNQ

International Race of Champions Edit

(key) (Bold – Pole position. * – Most laps led.)

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Buddy Baker. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Autopedia, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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