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
• 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.
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.
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
• 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.