August 10, 2015
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 10, 2015) – The following is a statement from the NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley on the passing of NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Buddy Baker.
"First and foremost, on behalf of everyone at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, we offer our most sincere condolences to the entire Baker family. As the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker, there never seemed any doubt that Buddy would follow in his father’s huge footprints establishing a remarkable legacy of his own. A nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame and one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers of the first 50 years of NASCAR, Buddy was clearly one of NASCAR’s elite drivers of all time. He stood an imposing six feet, six inches tall but was rightfully referred to as the “Gentle Giant” for his warm, affable and engaging personality. His 19 career wins included many of NASCAR’s biggest races including the Daytona 500, Southern 500 and Coca-Cola 600. He set numerous records and firsts including being the first driver to eclipse the 200 mph mark on a closed course test at Talladega and one he seemed most proud of, the fastest Daytona 500 ever, which continues to stand over 35 years later. He stayed active in NASCAR as a team owner, television and radio commentator, and co-host and remained one of our sports faithful advocates and ambassadors for his entire life. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed his always jovial side and the constant banter we enjoyed over the years. Buddy left an unmistakably large imprint on the history of NASCAR, and it is because of competitors like him that NASCAR is what it is today. Again, we offer our sincere condolences to the entire Baker family."