Elzie Wylie Baker, known to NASCAR fans as Buck Baker, was an innovator and a trendsetter, raising the bar for NASCAR expectations and accomplishments. Born in Charlotte, N.C., in 1919, he has already been recognized for his career achievements as a member of several halls of fame. Here are five reasons he is a NASCAR Hall of Famer.
Baker continued his involvement in racing after his own driving career ended. In 1980, he founded the Buck Baker Racing School to teach up-and-coming drivers the finer points of the sport. Drivers from Jeff Gordon to Tony Stewart to Ryan Newman have benefited from the program.
Baker knew how to find speed in a car – from the start of a race weekend. He tallied 45 pole positions during his career, earning the respect of those who raced against him.
Baker earned 46 career NASCAR wins, 14th on the all-time list. Some of his victories came in the sport’s biggest events, including a trio of Southern 500s.
Baker was incredibly consistent during the heart of his NASCAR career. He finished in the top 10 in the standings nine consecutive seasons (1953-61), placed second in the standings twice and was in the top five four other times, in addition to winning his pair of titles in that stretch.
Baker was the first driver to win consecutive series championships in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He captured the titles in the 1956 and '57 seasons, earning a total of 24 wins over the course of those two seasons to take the championships.