NASCAR great Elzie Wylie ‘Buddy’ Baker Jr. passed away yesterday morning at the age of 74. Baker, widely recognized as one of the most skilled stock car drivers to ever compete in NASCAR, was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer about a month ago, which ultimately took his life.
Baker, born Florence, SC, to two-time NASCAR champion Buck Baker, began his NASCAR career in 1959. He competed in over 700 races between then and when he retired from racing in 1992, winning 19 Winston Cup races, taking 38 poles and racking up 202 top fives and 311 top 10s. In 1970, the 6-foot 6 Baker became the first NASCAR driver to crack the 200 mph mark, hitting 200.447 miles per hour during a closed run at Talladega in his No. 88 Dodge Charger Daytona.
Following his retirement, Baker was a NASCAR commentator for CBS and the Nashville Network. Before being forced to step down due his illness, he co-hosted the ‘Late Shift’ and ‘Tradin’ Paint’ shows on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Creative Commons photo via Ted van Pelt on Flickr!