Facts About Buddy Baker
Published: July 24, 2023

Elzie Wylie “Buddy” Baker Jr. was a giant competitor in NASCAR Winston Cup Racing. His 33-year career was full of achievements that earned him his spot in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

3 Facts About Buddy Baker

We’ve compiled a list of 3 facts about Buddy Baker that shed more light on his life and accomplishments.

1. Son of A Legend

While Buddy was a man of firsts and not afraid to make his own path, his father was no novice to racing. Elzie Wylie “Buck” Baker won his fair share of races in NASCAR as well. With 46 wins, Buck was one of the champions that Buddy looked up to. In his early years, Buddy spent a large amount of time tire testing and learning, trying to figure out how to corner like his father. He also tried to copy the moves of one of his other heroes, Glenn “Fireball” Roberts.

By learning from those more experienced, Buddy was able to improve his technique and have quality racing practice at a young age. Buck Baker was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990.

2. First Over 200

Buddy Baker was 6 foot 6 inches with a lead foot. He was often referred to as the “gentle giant.” Well, this giant had a speed not seen in stock car racing before. He was the first ever racer to hit speeds above the 200-mph mark in a closed course. On March 24, 1970, in the blue No. 88 winged Dodge Charger Daytona at the Talladega Superspeedway, he set the world record. He got up to 200.447 mph during a testing run to be the first racer to achieve this record.

It wasn’t until 17 years later that the record was broken. Bill Elliot set the current official qualifying record of 212.809 mph at Talladega. Buddy’s precedent pushed others to push the boundaries in this sport.

3. Success After Success

Buddy Baker had an impressive career. He raced in 688 Winston Cup races. Of those, he won 198, finished in the top five 198 times, in the top ten 299 times, and won 40 pole positions. Throughout his career, he won over $3.6 million. He won the Winston 500 in 1975, 1976, and 1980. In 1975 he won the Talladega 500. As for Daytona, he won the Daytona 500 in 1980 and the Firecracker 400 in 1983. In 1972 – 1973, he was the first person to win consecutive World 600s. in 1979, he won the inaugural preseason event known now as the Sprint Unlimited.
Buddy Baker finished with an average race speed of 177.602 mph. At Talladega, he retired with the all-time lap leader record of 1,099.

Buddy Baker Acknowledged

In 1997, 7 years after his father, Baker was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. NASCAR dubbed him one of NASCAR’S 50 greatest drivers in 1998 and inducted him into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020. If you would like to learn more about Buddy Baker, his father, or any of our other inductees, come to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, AL. We have self-guided tours and are happy to answer any questions about our racing legends.

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