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Blog / Hall of Famers

Seven Great Buddy Baker Dodges

Buddy Baker’s earliest success came driving Dodges, some for Hall of Fame team owners

In 1980, Hall of Famer Buddy Baker (2020) drove the famed “Gray Ghost” Oldsmobile to victory in the Daytona 500 at an average speed of 177.602 mph, a speed record that still stands to this day.

Baker and the Gray Ghost will forever be linked for running the fastest Daytona 500 ever, and indeed the gray and black, Harry Ranier-owned Oldsmobile was Baker’s Hall of Honor car after he was inducted.

But did you know that of Baker’s 19 career premier series victories, the first eight all came in Dodges? And those victories were with four different teams, including a pair of fellow Hall of Famers?

It’s true.

Here are seen of Baker’s Dodges, six of which he won races with and one that broke a speed barrier once thought to be unapproachable.

In Victory Lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Buddy Baker’s race-winning No. 3 Dodge is barely visible beneath the crowd atop the car. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Research & Archives Center via Getty Images

1967

Perseverance is an underrated quality. It took eight years and 216 starts for Buddy Baker to win his first premier series race, but he did it in grand style winning the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Baker was victorious in the white No. 3 Dodge Charger owned by Raymond Fox, one of the sport’s top mechanics.

Dodge had an all-new body style for its Charger coupe in 1968. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Research & Archives Center via Getty Images

1968

The 1968 NASCAR season was déjà vu all over again for car owner Raymond Fox and driver Buddy Baker. Although the Dodge Charger they raced was all-new, the results were similar, as Baker again won a race in the No. 3 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This time, however, Baker triumphed in the World 600, NASCAR’s longest race.

In the height of NASCAR’s aero wars, Buddy Baker won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Research & Archives Center via Getty Images

1970

Midway through 1969, Buddy Baker moved to the No. 6 Dodge owned by fellow Hall of Famer Cotton Owens (2013). After a winless first season together, the pair campaigned a high-winged, drop-nosed Dodge Daytona at the faster tracks in 1970, with Baker scoring a huge victory in the Southern 500, one of NASCAR’s crown jewel races.

In 1970, Buddy Baker became the first driver to lap a closed-course track at more than 200 mph. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Research & Archives Center via Getty Images

1970

Without question, one of Buddy Baker’s crowning achievements was being the first driver to break the 200 miles per hour barrier on a closed course, which he did at Alabama International Motor Speedway (now Talladega Superspeedway) on March 24, 1970. Driving the No. 88 Dodge Daytona prepared by Ray Nichels, Baker lapped the 2.66-mile track at a speed of 200.447 mph.

After winning the Southern 500 in 1970, Buddy Baker followed it up by winning the spring Darlington race in 1971. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Research & Archives Center via Getty Images

1971

Chrysler Corp., the parent company of Dodge and Plymouth, radically scaled back its NASCAR program for 1971. Petty Enterprises, the team founded by Hall of Famer Lee Petty (2011), fielded two cars, a Plymouth for Lee’s son Richard Petty (2010) and a white No. 11 Dodge for Buddy Baker. Petty ran full time, with Baker competing in only 19 of 48 races, including the spring event at historic Darlington Raceway, where Baker won his only race of the season.

New sponsorship from STP meant that Buddy Baker’s Dodge was painted bright red for the 1972 season. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Research & Archives Center via Getty Images

1972

Teaming up with Petty Enterprises for a second consecutive season, Buddy Baker was again behind the wheel of the No. 11 Dodge in 1972. The big change, though, was the old white paint scheme was ditched in favor of a bright red hue, the corporate color of new sponsor STP. Baker entered 17 of 31 races in 1972, when he won the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a second time.

In 1973, Buddy Baker moved to Nord Krauskopf’s fast No. 71 Dodge Charger. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Research & Archives Center/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

1973

After running only a limited schedule in 1971-72, Buddy Baker had the opportunity to race full time with Nord Krauskopf’s K&K Insurance team in 1973. Baker made the most of the situation, as he drove the No. 71 Dodge to victories in the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Nashville 420. Competing in 27 or 28 premier series races, Baker ended the 1973 season sixth in points, at the time a career best.

Plan your visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and purchase tickets at nascarhall.com/tickets.

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen

Tom is the Curatorial Affairs Manager of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a veteran of more than 20 years in the NASCAR media industry.

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