NASCAR's ‘Gentle Giant,' Buddy Baker, Passes Away

Posted at 8:02 AM, Aug 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 16:51:13-04

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Buddy Baker, a NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, has died after a battle with cancer, CBS News has learned. He was 74.

According to CBS News, his death was announced on Sirius XM’s NASCAR Radio Monday morning.

Baker had been battling lung cancer and stepped down from his role as co-host of “The Late Shift” last month.

“Do not shed a tear. Give a smile when you say my name. I'm not saying goodbye. Just talk to you later,” Mr. Baker said in his final radio appearance.

Baker, who earned the nickname the “Gentle Giant,” was the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker. He won 19 races, including the Daytona 500 in 1980.

He was named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers in 1998.

Baker was the first driver to exceed 200 mph on a closed course in 1970 at the Talladega Superspeedway.

Following his retirement from racing, Mr. Baker remained involved in NASCAR first as a broadcaster for The Nashville Network, then CBS and finally SiriusXM NASCAR Radio when the station started a NASCAR channel in 2007.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)