Former NASCAR racer and broadcaster Buddy Baker died Monday morning. He was 74.
Baker, who last hosted a show on NASCAR’s SiriusXM channel, stepped away from his hosting duties earlier this year after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer had been found after Baker had been complaining of incessant shoulder pain.
The “Gentle Giant” had 19 wins in his Sprint Cup Series career, including the 1980 Daytona 500. He had four wins at Talladega, including one there nine races after his Daytona 500 win. In both of those races he drove the “Gray Ghost” a gray car that opponents said blended into the track. NASCAR made him add red trim paint to his Oldsmobile so competitors could better see him.
He led 143 laps in his Daytona 500 win.
Baker also did television work for NASCAR broadcasts in the 1990s on TNN. While he was on Sirius for the final time in early July, Baker said he wanted to be remembered thusly:
“Do not shed a tear. Give a smile when you say my name,” he said. “I’m not saying goodbye. Just talk to you later.”
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