American racing legend Buddy Baker has passed away at the age of 74 after a battle with lung cancer, NASCAR announced on Monday.
For more than three decades, Baker was a fixture on the track. The driver made his NASCAR debut on April 4, 1959 and went on to race in nearly 700 career starts, winning 19 times at NASCAR’s top level Sprint Cup Series.
Baker was the first driver to break 200 mph on a closed course and won the Daytona 500 in 1980, setting a record with an average race speed of 177.602 mph. His record still stands today as the fastest ever Daytona 500 run.
Baker took a job in broadcasting following after his retirement following the 1994 season, most recently anchoring SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.