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Buddy Baker Dead: Daytona 500 Winner Dies Of Lung Cancer At 74

Tue, August 11, 2015 7:53am EDT by Add first Comment

Heartbreaking. Buddy Baker, a former NASCAR racer and winner of the 1980 Daytona 500, passed away at the age of 74. The news comes just over a month after he revealed he’d been diagnosed with an inoperable tumor on his lung.

Sad news for NASCR fans — Buddy Baker died at 74 years old on Aug. 10 of lung cancer. The news was confirmed by SiriusXM Nascar Radio, where Buddy had hosted a talk show for four years until he sadly had to resign in July 2015 as the horrible illness took over.

Buddy will be remembered in the NASCAR world for being the first person to exceed 200 miles per hour on a closed course. He also won the Daytona 500 in 1980, and eventually became a broadcaster for the sport. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall Of Fame in 1997, and has been named on the list of NASCARs 50 Greatest Drivers.

The pro racer began his NASCAR career in 1959, following in his father, Buck Baker‘s, footsteps. His feat of reaching 200 mph on a closed course happened in 1970, and ten years later, he won the sport’s most prestigious race, the Daytona 500. To this day, Buddy has the fastest average speed in the contest.

After his final NASCAR race in 1992, Buddy became a broadcaster for racing. From 1994-2002, he worked on The Nashville Network as a television commentator. He became co-host of ‘Late Shift’ with Brad Gillie and Tradin Paint in 2011, and worked there until July 2015, when he resigned, effective immediately, after being diagnosed with an inoperable lung tumor. “Do not shed a tear,” he told his listeners. “Give a smile when you say my name.”

Our thoughts remain with Buddy’s family during this difficult time. HollywoodLifers, please leave your condolences in the comments section below.

— Alyssa Norwin