Though he stands 6 feet, 6 inches, Buddy Baker, nicknamed “Leadfoot,” was known for his record-setting speed during his 34-year Winston Cup career. The son of racing legend Buck Baker, Buddy is generally regarded in stock car circles as the fastest of all top drivers, using his awesome, up-tempo approach to racing to attain speeds never before seen on the NASCAR circuit. At Talladega in 1970, Buddy became the first driver to race over 200 mph on a closed course. At the 1980 Daytona 500, Buddy took the checkered flag with an average speed of 177.6 mph, a record that still stands.
Along with his remarkable single race performances, Buddy enjoyed one of the elite careers in the history of racing. He was the first driver to win the racing’s “Big Four”: Daytona, Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte. In fact, Buddy won at Talladega four times (twice in 1975, 1976, and 1980), Charlotte four times (1967, 1968, 1972, and 1973), Darlington twice (1970 and 1971), and Daytona twice (1980 and 1983). In all, Buddy won 19 times during his career on the NASCAR circuit, with 17 on major speedways. He ranks ninth on NASCAR’s all-time list for top-five finishes with 202 and top-10 finishes with 311 (out of 688 starts). Buddy also ranks tenth on the all-time list for pole positions with 40. This extraordinary career culminated with Buddy’s induction into the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Court of Legends in 1995 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala in 1997.
Since retiring from racing, Buddy has established himself as one of the preeminent television commentators in the business while working for TNN Motorsports. In 1997, he was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. With his brother and father, Buddy runs the Buck Baker Racing School in Rockingham, North Carolina. He also tests cars for the Penske Racing team and enjoys fishing and golf.