Godspeed Buddy Baker, you will not be forgotten #GentleGiant #BuddyBaker
Buddy Baker was born in Florence, South Carolina, the son of two time winner of the NASCAR Championship and a Hall of Fame member Buck Baker and brother of fellow racer Randy Baker. Baker began his NASCAR career in 1959. In 1970, he became the first driver to ever exceed 200 mph (320 km/h) on a closed course. This World Record feat was accomplished in the Chrysler Engineering blue #88 Charger Daytona, which is being restored in Detroit. The same year, with a victory at the Southern 500, he became the first NASCAR driver to win the same race at the same venue as his father. (Buck did it in 1953.)
During his career, Baker won nineteen races including the 1980 Daytona 500, NASCAR’s most prestigious race. His victory remains the fastest Daytona 500 ever run, with an average speed of 177.602 mph (285.809 km/h).
Baker is one of eight drivers to have won a Career Grand Slam, by winning the sport’s four majors – the Daytona 500, Aaron’s 499, Coca-Cola 600, and the Southern 500.; Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson are the other seven to have accomplished the feat. He is the only one of the eight to not win the championship.
He generally raced part-time, competing in every race in only three seasons. He owned a car with Danny Schiff from 1985 to 1989, and was instrumental in the career of Jimmy Spencer. He competed in two International Race of Champions series. His final race in NASCAR was in 1992.
Buddy currently helps run the Buck Baker Racing School with his brother. Buddy Baker was the first driver to exceed the 200 mph mark on March 24, 1970 on a closed course test run. His speed was clocked at 200.447 miles per hour (322.588 km/h); a record that stood for 13 years. That record was finally broken by the late Benny Parsons.
From 1991 until 2000, he became a television commentator on The Nashville Network and later (1994–2000) races produced by their World Sports Enterprises division, including CBS races. After the 2000 season Baker could still be heard on TNN, calling the American Speed Association races in 2001 and 2002 with Bob Dillner (their final race call was for the 2002 Winchester 400). During 2007, Baker could be heard as the part-time co-host of The Driver’s Seat with John Kernan on Sirius Satellite Radio’s NASCAR channel 128. As of 2011, Baker now the co-hosts Late Shift with Brad Gillie and Tradin Paint with Jim Noble on SiriusXM’s channel 90.
Baker resigned effective immediately on July 7, 2015 due to inoperable lung cancer, stating “Do not shed a tear. Give a smile when you say my name.”. Baker’s death was announced on August 8th, 2015.
In 1997, Baker joined his father as an inductee in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama. He was inducted into the Charlotte Motor Speedway Court of Legends in 1995, and into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame inductee in 1997. He was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.
From Fox Sports:
Mr. Steven Patrick Byrnes, age 56, of Fort Mill, S.C., went to be with the Lord on April 21, 2015.
Surviving are his wife of 22 years, Karen Byrnes; son Bryson, 12, a sixth grader at Charlotte Christian School; parents Jerry and Claire Byrnes of Charlotte; sister Betsy Byrnes of Charlotte; brother Dan Byrnes and wife Tammy of Charlotte; nephews Tyler, 21, and Dylan Byrnes, 17; and niece Samantha Byrnes, 13, of Charlotte.
Steve was born April 14, 1959, in Chicago, and was raised in New Carrollton, Md. He attended Church of Christ at Gold Hill Road, was a 1981 graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Radio, Television and Film, and played football for one year at James Madison University before transferring to the University of Maryland.
Steve enjoyed a successful and highly respected television broadcasting career for 30 years. He joined the FOX Sports family in 2001, hosting and reporting for multiple NASCAR programs and serving as a pit road reporter for NASCAR on FOX’s broadcast of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 2001-2014. Most recently, he was the play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports 1 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and was co-host of NASCAR Race Hub for the network.
Prior to joining FOX, Steve also hosted Darrell Waltrip’s Racers on TNN, worked as a pit road reporter for CBS, WTBS and TNN, and hosted a variety of NASCAR programs for The History Channel and TNN, for which he moved to Charlotte in 1985 and remained in the area ever since. His first on-air job was at WCIV-TV in Charleston, S.C., in 1982, after commencing his television career as weekend sports producer at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., immediately following graduation from college. Steve also called play-by-play for a Carolina Panthers/Minnesota Vikings NFL game on FOX and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for DirecTV Hot Pass.
Despite all his career accolades, Steve’s greatest accomplishment was his son, Bryson, who is growing into a more Godly, compassionate and respectable young man every day. Steve’s passion was spending every moment possible with Bryson, especially watching him play football and basketball and helping prepare him to play for the Charlotte Christian School football team as a seventh grader in the 2015-’16 school year. The other light of his life was Karen, with whom his relationship extended well beyond that of a spouse. The two were inseparable since meeting in 1988 while she was the public relations representative for Benny Parsons in his last season as a NASCAR driver.
Attending Appalachian State University football games was one of the family’s favorite activities, in addition to cheering for the University of Maryland’s football and basketball teams; the Washington Redskins; the Carolina Panthers; following NASCAR; and watching nephews Tyler and Dylan play baseball. Steve also delighted in gardening, travel with his family, photographing sports, nature and sunsets.
In addition to being a wonderful, loving and Godly husband, father, son and brother, Steve was an excellent friend, colleague and mentor to all who knew and loved him. His indelible impact extended even to the millions of television viewers who watched him every week over the years, as evidenced by the outpouring of public support he received following his cancer diagnosis in August 2013. Steve became a tangible example of strength, courage and fortitude to all who witnessed his battle with cancer and his personal crusade to spend as many days as possible with Karen and Bryson. He was honored to be designated as the keynote speaker at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life on June 7, 2014, in Charlotte, where he shared the inspiring story of his battle with hundreds of cancer survivors, caregivers and families during the Luminaria Ceremony that evening.
A public figure who always made time for others and made strangers feel like longtime and valued friends, Steve took particular solace in his private life with his family. He was always smiling, supportive, selfless and loving. Upon his original diagnosis, Steve quickly found the positive in the situation and put his entire focus into his treatments, simultaneously vowing not to miss a single moment with his son. His motto and daily inspiration became “Be present” in every moment of his family’s lives. Now Steve is present with the Lord, and until we see him again, he is present in our hearts and memories forever.
Steve, we give you back to the Lord with eternal love and great appreciation for His gift of you to us. We love you.
Funeral services are pending.(Fox Sports)(4-21-2015)
July 26th 1926 to April 6th 2015