Buck Baker

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Elzie Wylie "Buck" Baker Sr.
BuckBakerNASCARLegend.jpg
Born (1919-03-04)March 4, 1919
Richburg, South Carolina, United States
Died April 14, 2002(2002-04-14) (aged 83)
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States[1]
Cause of death Natural causes
Achievements 1956 Grand National Series Champion
1957 Grand National Series Champion
1952 NASCAR Speedway Division Champion
1953, 1960, 1964 Southern 500 Winner
Led Grand National Series in wins in 1956 and 1957
Led Grand National Series in poles in 1956 and 1957
Awards Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (1998)
NASCAR Hall of Fame (2013)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
635 races run over 26 years
Best finish 1st (1956, 1957)
First race 1949 Race No. 1 (Charlotte)
Last race 1976 National 500 (Charlotte)
First win 1952 (Columbia)
Last win 1964 Southern 500 (Darlington)
Wins Top tens Poles
46 372 45
NASCAR Grand National East Series career
12 races run over 2 years
Best finish 11th (1972)
First race 1972 Bold City 200 (Jacksonville)
Last race 1973 Sunoco 260 (Hickory)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 5 0
Statistics current as of April 10, 2013.

Elzie Wylie Baker Sr. (March 4, 1919 - April 14, 2002), better known as Buck Baker, was an American racing driver. Born in Richburg, South Carolina, Baker began his NASCAR career in 1949 and won his first race three years later at Columbia Speedway. Twenty-three years later, Baker retired after the 1976 National 500. He died in Charlotte, North Carolina at the age of 83.

During his NASCAR Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup Series) career, Baker won two championships, 46 races and 45 pole positions, as well as recorded 372 top-tens. In 1957, he became the first driver to win two consecutive championships in the series. From 1972 to 1973, he competed in the Grand National East Series, where he recorded five top-tens in twelve races. On May 23, 2012, it was announced that he would be inducted into the 2013 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on February 8, 2013.

Racing career[edit]

Model kit of Baker's flathead-powered Modified
Baker's 1949 NASCAR Oldsmobile

Baker entered his first race in 1939 in Greenville, South Carolina,[2] He entered his first NASCAR race in 1949 at Charlotte Speedway., Baker went on to become one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR's history. He was the first back-to-back winner of the Grand National (now Sprint Cup) Championship in 1956 and 1957.[3] He was second twice (1955 and 1958) and finished in the top five on four other occasions.

Baker's 682 NASCAR starts (44 from the pole) ranks him third all-time and his 46 victories rank him 13th. In 1953, 1960 and 1964, Baker won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. In 1963, Baker was given credit for winning a race that he clearly did not win. Wendell Scott won the race. NASCAR later reversed its ruling for the race. Scott did not receive the trophy. In 1967, Baker switched to NASCAR's Grand American division, where he was also very successful.

After his retirement in 1976, Baker opened up the Buck Baker Racing School, where Jeff Gordon drove his first stock car. His son, Buddy, is a 34-year Winston Cup veteran and taught at the school along with Buck's daughter, Susie Baker;[1] his other son, Randy, also competed in Winston Cup and operates SpeedTech Auto Racing Schools.

Awards[edit]

Baker was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame in 1982,[1] the International Motorsports Hall of Fame[4] in 1990, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1998.[5] Also in 1998, he was named one of the NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.[6] On May 23, 2012, it was announced that he would be one of five nominees to be inducted into the 2013 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on February 8, 2013.[7]

Last years and death[edit]

Baker died on the night of April 14, 2002 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the age of 83, of natural causes.[1]

His wife, Susan, is the president of the Buck Baker Racing School. His son, Buddy Baker[8] also grew to be a renowned NASCAR driver, winning the 1980 Daytona 500 in what is still the record speed for the 500 at 177.602 mph (285.809 km/h). Buddy would eventually become a TV broadcaster following his retirement from racing.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Buck Baker, two-time NASCAR champ, dies at 83". The Associated Press (Charlotte, North Carolina). USA Today. April 15, 2002. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Baker, Elzie Wylie (Buck)". s9 Biographical Dictionary. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Buck Baker — Occoneechee". Occoneechee / Orange Speedway. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Buck Baker -International Hall of Fame". International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Buck Baker — Motorsports Hall". Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Buck Baker". NASCAR. September 4, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Thomas, Wood top vote-getters for 2013 class". Official Release. NASCAR. May 23, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Biography". buddybaker.com: CMG Worldwide. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Achievements". buddybaker.com: CMG Worldwide. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Buck Baker at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Tim Flock
NASCAR Grand National Champion
1956
Succeeded by
Buck Baker
Preceded by
Buck Baker
NASCAR Grand National Champion
1957
Succeeded by
Lee Petty