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Two-Time NASCAR Champion Baker Dies

April 16, 2002|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Buck Baker, a two-time Winston Cup champion who was included on NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers list, has died. He was 83.

Baker died late Sunday night at Carolinas Medical Center. Family members said he was in the hospital for a procedure involving a pacemaker that had been implanted earlier.

Baker was a city bus driver in Charlotte when he turned to racing full-time, competing in NASCAR's inaugural season.

He went on to win 46 Winston Cup races--13th on the all-time list--and 44 poles. He was the first back-to-back series champion, winning titles in 1956 and 1957.

"Throughout the entire racing world, I don't know of anybody who would said he didn't give 110% from the time they dropped the green flag until the time the race was over," said his son, Buddy Baker, himself a winner of 19 NASCAR Winston Cup races.

Buck Baker, born Elzie Wylie Baker on March 4, 1919, in Richburg, S.C., started 631 races, seventh most in NASCAR, and ran the most laps for three consecutive years beginning in 1955. He was a three-time winner of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, one of NASCAR's most storied races.

Baker is survived by his wife, Susan Painter Baker; two sons, Buddy and Randy; a daughter, Susie Baker, a sister, two grandsons and two great granddaughters.

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