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The Daly Planet

What I Like About You

Buddy Baker (orig published 2004)
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By Carol Einarsson | 07/07/2015
Category: What I Like About You

I like that Buddy was the first guy to win "the big four", races at Daytona, Talladega, Darlington, and Charlotte.

I like that he still gets to drive fast, sometimes testing cars for Nextel Cup teams.

And I also like that every now and then we get to hear him spotting for a young driver.

I like that he says so many charming things that I began a list of what I called Buddyisms, among them, such gems as, "You can see he lost two spots there in the time it took me to say absolutely nothing."

I like that when you do an online search for the real Buddy Baker, you also hit upon a guy by the same name that worked, and wrote more than 200 musical scores, for Disney.  I smile when I think about OUR Buddy writing little ditties like that, and the lyrics they might contain.

I like that, just like another guy I admire, he's driven both the #6 car, AND had a sponsorship from Valvoline.

I like that he set the record for driving the fastest Daytona 500, and that no matter how many young whippersnappers come along these days, Buddy's record still stands.

I like the Buddyism about making deals and having friends on the race track, "You want a friend?  Bring your dog."

I like that he was also the first guy to drive 200mph, and that was more than 30 years ago.

I like that he admired and loved his father, and that his father admired and loved him back.

I like that nobody tells a story better than Buddy Baker, whether he’s doin’ 30mph on a gurney, or runnin’ naked through a hotel being chased by a cheetah.

I like that I laugh every time I re-read his quote about Dale Earnhardt, "I wanna be there when you call him E-1 the first time."

I like -- no, I LOVE his infectious belly laugh!

I like that Buddy was never afraid to talk about NASCAR in the same way the rest of us would, and talking about a race called for rain, sticking up for the fans, "Those fans bought a whole race ticket, not half a one."

I like that Buddy taught me how to pronounce Mr. Mayfield's first name.

I like the Buddyism describing a guy who’s a tough racer: "He could go bear-hunting with a switch."

I like that as near as I can remember, he was the first one that ever pushed for short-term sponsorships for unsponsored cars.

I like that Buddy won the first Busch Clash in 1979.

I like that Buddy can tell me a story about Tiny Lund that has me laughing so hard I'm crying in the middle, and then crying a different kind of tear at the end when he speaks of his death.

I like his curious wonderings that are delivered dry, but would make us laugh out loud even when we’re alone in our living rooms. "What's the 'secret' in Pop Secret?"

I like the picture of Buddy Baker that I saw of him hugging his Momma after his first win.  A great big man looking just a tiny bit like a little boy who just won his first bicycle race with the bigger kid down the street.

I like the Buddyism about a ride home after a race that wasn’t won: "It was so quiet you could have heard a mouse pee in cotton."
I like that Buddy Baker once drove a car that was called "The Gray Ghost" because it was the perfect shade of pavement gray, and Buddy would sometimes scare drivers because he'd seem to appear out of nowhere.  We LOVE a guy like that!   Boo!
I like that we can thank Buddy Baker for bringing Jimmy Spencer into Cup racing.

I like that Buddy earned something like $3.5 million in his whole racing career, but he hasn’t been off the track too long to understand a problem with today’s racing: "You can do nothing and still make a lot of money.  You can be a bad boy and do everything wrong and still make $1 million."

I like that I know his first name, but that I like him well enough that I opted not to include it in the title of this article because he doesn’t much like folks to use it.

And one more thing I like about Buddy Baker,

Never has a better quote been recorded than what Buddy said about racing at Talladega and Daytona:  "A restrictor plate is like runnin' a mile with a finger over one nose hole."



07/07/2015 11:48 pm (1)
Carol, thank you so much for the memory... You sum it up so well.

Mr. Baker thank you so much for everything! Thoughts and prayers are with you.
07/08/2015 1:33 am (2)
Carol.... I was very saddened to hear about Mr Baker, he has made me laugh so many many times...

And thank you for making me laugh out loud, several times again... (brought a couple tears too) but I'm smiling right now...

Good Luck Buddy, you done a good thing for this sport...
07/08/2015 11:14 pm (3)
Thank you for this article Carol. Buddy, you are a gem.

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