Five fined for monkeying with manifolds

Wednesday, June 29, 1988 – NASCAR officials seized the intake manifolds from five of its premier series teams and quickly fined the five drivers $5,000 each prior to practice for the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The drivers fined were Davey Allison (Ranier Racing), Buddy Baker (Baker/Schiff Racing), Ken Bouchard (Whitcomb Racing), Dale Jarrett (Hoss Ellington) and Cale Yarborough (Cale Yarborough Motorsports).

NASCAR determined the teams were attempting to get around the limitations of the 1-inch restrictor plate in use for the upcoming race by altering the manifolds. Some manifolds had small holes bored in them while others were not seated flush against the gasket, allowing air into the engine

Officials also confiscated a faulty gasket from the Ford driven by Kyle Petty, however the third-generation driver was not fined.

Winston Cup director Dick Beatty said he informed teams that officials would be on the lookout for anyone attempting to get around the horsepower-restricting plates. Anyone caught a second time for a similar infraction would be suspended for 12 weeks.

Allison endures heat for Dover win

Sunday, June 6, 1971 – On a broiling day that saw some of NASCAR’s top stars sidelined by fatigue, Bobby Allison persevered to collect his 20th career win in the premier series with a victory in the Mason-Dixon 500 at Dover International Speedway. The temperature in Dover, Del. exceeded 90 degrees – inside the cars it was said to be as high as 140. Allison took the checkered flag a full lap ahead of the runner-up entry of Richard Petty.

Fred Lorenzen was credited with the runner-up although he was replaced by Bobby Isaac with 60 laps remaining; Isaac had gotten out of his own car, which was taken over by Pete Hamilton. Petty was credited with a third-place finish – he was replaced by fellow Petty Enterprises driver Buddy Baker who had fallen out just past the halfway point with an engine issue.

The race remains the only caution-free Cup race at Dover. In spite of a lack of yellow flags, the race still took 4 hr., 30 min. to complete.

Allison’s Holman-Moody team had planned to run a Mercury in the race, but Ralph Moody said team made a last-minute call to switch and raced a Ford instead.

To help cool their driver, the pit crew sprayed Allison with a water hose during pit stops.

Allison’s winning average speed of 123.119 mph was a record for a 1-mile track.

Tragedy strikes at Talladega

Sunday, May 4, 1975 – Tragedy struck at Talladega when a pressurized water tank explosion claimed the life of Randy G. Owens, a crewman on the No. 43 team of Richard Petty, during the running of the Winston 500 at Alabama International Speedway.

Petty had pitted with a fire in his left-front wheel on lap 141 of the 188-lap race; Owen, 21, turned on the pressure on the tank to put out the fire when the explosion occurred, throwing him into the air.

The brother of Petty’s wife Lynda, Randy Owens worked with the Petty team for approximately four years. He left a wife, Jan, and two sons – Travis, 2, and Trent, 1. Trent Owens is currently crew chief for the No. 37 JTG-Daugherty Chevrolet of driver Chris Buescher in NASCAR’s premier series.

Also injured in the explosion was Gary Rogers, a crewman for driver Benny Parsons. He was treated for minor injuries after being struck by debris from the tank.

Buddy Baker won the race, holding off David Pearson to score the victory.

Baker makes premier series debut

Saturday, April 4, 1959 – Buddy Baker, son of two-time premier series champion Buck Baker, makes his NASCAR debut when he competes at Columbia (S.C.) Speedway in the season’s ninth race. Baker started 18th in the 21-car field and finished 14th in a car fielded by his father.

Baker was one of several drivers who drove for Buck Baker through the years. Buddy ran six races in ’59 for his dad and continued to make occasional starts for him through 1967.

None of Baker’s 19 career wins came driving for his father, although he did manage 19 top-five finishes, including two second-place results.

Baker made 700 starts, the final coming in 1992 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in NASCAR’s top series. Among his victories were wins in the Daytona 500, the World 600 and Southern 500.

In addition to his racing exploits, Baker also enjoyed a successful career as a broadcaster, serving as a NASCAR analyst for various networks as well as a radio host.