NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Buddy Baker died

Former NASCAR driver Buddy Baker flashes a thumbs-up to the media as he arrives for the induction of his father, Buck Baker, into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Friday Feb. 8, 2013, in Charlotte, N.C. Image AP

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Buddy Baker has died after a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 74.

SiriusXM NASCAR Radio announced that Baker died early this morning. He had stepped down from his role as co-host of “The Late Shift” for the station last month when he announced he had a “huge tumor” in his lung that was inoperable.

The 6-foot-6 Baker, nicknamed the “Gentle Giant,” was the son of two-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker. He made his Cup Series debut in 1959 and ran his final race in 1992.

Baker won 19 races, including the 1980 Daytona 500.

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

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