On Thursday I looked at a car driven by Jerry Grant the first man to lap an open wheeler at an average 200 mph during qualifying at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1972 and I was surprised to learn that Buddy Baker recorded the first 200 mph race lap, in today’s featured Grand National Dodge Charger Daytona two years earlier at Talladega.
After NASCAR leveled the playing field by allowing Ford to run four barrel carburetor’s against Dodges 2 barrel carburetor Hemi’s Chrysler hit back by introducing the limited edition Dodge Charger Daytona model in 1969 using a Charger body shell with an aerodynamic nose and high rear wing which aided traction to the rear driven wheels.
The 6980 cc / 426 cui Hemi V8 fitted a 2 barrel carburettor was good for over 475 hp. In 1969 Bobby Isaac won 20 poles and won 17 of 54 Grand National championship races in his Charger Daytona but poor reliability meant he only finished 6th in the championship won by David Pearson with ‘only’ 11 wins. The following year Isaac won the championship with only 11 wins with Richard Petty finishing the championship 4th driving a similar Plymouth Road Runner Superbird with 18 championship wins.
For the 1970 season Cotton Owens entered Buddy Baker in today’s featured Daytona, while leading 101 laps at Talladega Baker recorded the world first 200 mph average race lap speed before a spin forced retirement. Note that baker was not driving a #88 Daytona in the Alabama 500 when he achieved this feat as reported in some sources. Baker later drove this car to victory lane at Darlington where he beat the eventual 1970 Champion Bobby Isaac by an entire lap.
NASCAR took the decision to outlaw all of the “Winged Warriors” at the end of the 1970 which included the Charger Daytona, Plymouth Superbird, Fords Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II.
This car has never been restored, simply kept in immaculate condition during long loan spells Cobo Hall in Detroit and the Darlington Museum.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who shared today’s photographs which were taken earlier this year at the Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance.
Thanks for joining me on this “Worlds First 200 mph Race Lap” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !