This 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Was the First Car to Top 200 MPH. Now It’s Heading to Auction.

This 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Was the First Car to Top 200 MPH. Now It’s Heading to Auction.

These days, cars are starting to eclipse 300 mph, but at the dawn of the 1970s the number to beat was 200 mph. Now the first car to beat the mark could be yours.

Buddy Baker’s 1969 Dodge Hemi Charger Daytona was the first to accomplish this feat, and now the race car will hit the block at Mecum Auction’s Indy 2022 sale next month. The race car, which is currently owned by legendary NASCAR crew chief Ray Everham, played a vital role in motorsports history and is exactly the kind of vehicle serious collectors want in their garage.

This particular Charger Daytona, serial number DC93, started its life as a press vehicle before being converted into a race car so it could be entered in the 1969 Daytona 500. Following the race, it was converted again for use in aerodynamics testing, but was back racing by the time the inaugural Talladega 500 rolled around that September. It started on the poll at that race after Charlie Glotzbach broke the world speed record for closed course lap average at 199.446 mph in it during qualifying. That mark wouldn’t stand for long, though. On March 24, 1970, Baker was piloting the car when it set an official lap speed of 200.447 mph at the same race track. The car would race for a handful more years before being retired in the mid-‘70s.

The Charger Daytona’s Hemi V-8 

Mecum Auctions

It took some serious grunt to break the 200-mph barrier. In the case of the Charger Daytona, it came courtesy 426 cu in Hemi EX-144 V-8. Equipped with a Holley Dominator carburetor and mated to a four-speed transmission that sent power to the rear axle, the might mill was capable of generating a ferocious 575 horses. Needless to say, Baker and the other drivers who got behind the wheel had little trouble pushing it to the limit.
The car still wears the same blue and white racing livery—which earned it the nickname the “Blue Car”—and the no. 88 it donned when Baker broke 200 mph in March 1970. That’s because Everham has it fully restored to 1969 top speed spec after acquiring it from NASCAR historian Greg Kwiatkowski. It was also authenticated by George M. Wallace in 2001.

Inside the The Charger Daytona’s Hemi V-8 

Mecum Auctions

Baker’s Charger Daytona is set to cross the block on May 21. Mecum is selling the car without reserve, but we imagine It’ll hammer down for a hefty sum. As Jalponik points out, Charger Daytonas were selling for seven figures during their mid-aughts auction peak. Considering the historical importance of the speed machine, we wouldn’t be surprised if this one does, too.

Check out more photos of the record-setting Charger Daytona below:

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Tony Stewart Discusses the Daytona 500, His New Role at the Race and What He Considers Luxury

Tony Stewart Discusses the Daytona 500, His New Role at the Race and What He Considers Luxury

On February 22, 1959, the initial running of the Daytona 500 debuted the massive Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, Fla., and elevated the city’s fabled motorsport contest from the sandy shoreline to a level of prominence still unmatched by any other NASCAR event today. This Sunday, the 64th edition of the annual competition will take place with a field of 40 drivers, all aiming to finish first after 200 laps on the 2.5-mile track.

Assisting Fox Sports with its coverage of the event this year will be household name Tony Stewart, a Hall of Fame driver—known to his legion of fans as “Smoke”—and the owner of four teams that will be battling it out at the 2022 Daytona 500, which starts the season for the NASCAR Cup Series. Prior to the weekend, the newly married Stewart shares with Robb Report what it feels like to be in the broadcast booth rather than behind the wheel, gives some insight into the new race team started with his wife and explains why he’s driven to give back.

Tony Stewart being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020. 

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images, courtesy of True Speed Communication.

You will be helping Fox Sports cover the Daytona 500. Has the transition from racer to broadcaster been difficult?
I don’t think it’s hard to be in there [the booth]. I’ve listened to Jeff Gordon and Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. answer a similar question, and like Dale has said, there’s a point in your life when you sit there and say, “I don’t want to have to take that chance anymore.” As much as I love winning races, the Daytona 500 is so unpredictable and so many things are out of your control and can get you in a wreck pretty easy. And it’s not about getting in a wreck, the cars are safer than they’ve ever been. You’re not worried about getting hurt, just about getting taken out of the race.
What is your objective in the booth?
What I add in the booth is hopefully the driver’s perspective and what the drivers are thinking at different points during the race. Are they antsy and a little more aggressive? Do they like where they’re at in the field and content to take it easy and get to the next fuel stop? A lot of times the fans think they know what’s going on from what’s on TV, but having that driver’s perspective adds to it, something to make them go, “Wow, I never thought of it that way.” That’s what we add value wise.

From right: In a broadcast booth, Tony Stewart poses with musician Blake Shelton along with Clint Boyer and Mike Joy of Fox Sports. 

Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup, courtesy of True Speed Communication.

What else is on your plate this weekend?

It’s overflowing. I was asked if I could do more of the pre-race as well, so I’m not exactly sure what it all entails and how much time that will be, but, obviously, I will be there the entire day. It sounds like I’ll l have a lot more responsibility than just being in the booth for that race. But it’s definitely an interesting dynamic, for sure. We’re going to have TSR, our NHRA drag racing team, making its debut at Pomona [California] the same day. So, I have four cars racing on Sunday in Daytona, two cars racing in Pomona and, on top of that, I’m in the booth with Fox. I don’t know if there’s any more I could do that day.
Why is the Daytona 500 so special?
It’s the biggest stock car race of the calendar year; no different than the Indianapolis 500 for IndyCar and the 24 hours of Le Mans for endurance. And it happens to be the opening race of the season. That’s part of what makes it so big. But then there’s the prestige. Some 70-odd years ago they were racing on the beach at Daytona. You made two 90-degree corners and you’re running down an asphalt road, then did the same thing at the other end—two 90-degree corners then came down the beach. To think where it started and how NASCAR has grown into what it is today shows how special the sport really is.

Stewart winning a qualifier for the 2007 Daytona 500. 

Photo by AP Photo/Chris O’Meara.

What standout memories do you have from competing in the race?
Unfortunately, they are of the ones that got away. I was never able to win a Daytona 500, and we were supposed to a couple of times. But, you know, there’s getting passed on the backstretch by Ryan Newman one year [2008]. And there was the year [2007] that Kurt Busch and I were the two best cars in the field, and I had a speeding penalty at one point. I had to work my way up from the back and then got a little loose in front of him. He had nowhere to go and got into the back of us, and it took both of us out. It’s the ones where you knew you had a legitimate opportunity and couldn’t capitalize on it.

Making a pit stop during the 2007 Daytona 500. 

Photo by AP Photo/John Raoux.

You are the only driver to win a championship in both IndyCar and NASCAR, why is that crossover so difficult?

I think it’s because the cars are just on opposite ends of the spectrum in motorsports. I mean, a stock car is 3,500 pounds and has a much narrower tire than the IndyCar does, while an IndyCar is half the weight and has two to three times more downforce than a stock car. Everything about the cars is extremely different. Back in the 1960’s, ‘70’s and even ‘80’s, drivers would venture back and forth between different forms of motorsports. Now, in this era, that’s a dying art.
You’re starting to see some of the younger guys that are in NASCAR dabble in dirt track racing, guys like Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott, but I was the only one that was doing that in the early 2000s. It wasn’t frowned on by NASCAR, but Joe Gibbs, who I drove for, was not a fan of it at all. And to his point, it’s like NBA or NFL players in pickup games getting hurt. So you just don’t see drivers that bounce back and forth like that anymore, especially when it comes to marquee events in IndyCar and NASCAR.

Celebrating victory as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion in 2011. 

Photo by AP Photo/J Pat Carter.

You have obviously enjoyed great success and the lifestyle it affords. What is your definition of luxury?
I honestly feel it’s at the end of a long race weekend, when I go to the airport and climb on my own plane, skipping traffic and the TSA checkpoint, then have a beverage with my seat back. It’s having the ability to travel, more than anything. And with the motor coaches that we have, it’s not having to check in to hotel rooms and the ability to pack much lighter for trips. That’s definitely luxury in my eyes.
So, you’re a fan of private aviation. What aircraft do you own?
I’m a huge fan. We have a [Cessna] Citation CJ4 now, and a CJ3 before that. Without the private plane, we would not be able to do all the things that we are doing. I was trying to get my [pilot’s] license but got so busy that I couldn’t focus on the book work and the hours I needed flying. But I love aviation and have sat up with my pilot quite a bit.

The famed driver is known as “Smoke” to his fans. 

Photo: Courtesy of True Speed Communication.

You take an interesting turn when it comes to collecting, tell us about it.
I assume you’re talking about my helmet collection. I started in 2000 and traded my first helmet with Elliott Sadler; we were both rookies together in 1999. I then started trading with other drivers. It’s one of those scenarios where you really can’t just go buy race-car drivers’ helmets, they’re few and far between. And a lot keep their helmets or are very tight with them. I’ve had the ability to trade with my peers and, through the years, been able to buy collections when they have come for sale. I’m up to almost 360 helmets now.
Which are your favorites?
Probably my favorite is the one that Jimmie Johnson wore when he won his seventh NASCAR Cup Series Championship. The night that he won was the same night as my last race in the Cup Series. I went to congratulate him and he literally had someone reach in the car, grab the helmet and hand it to me, there in victory lane. And Carl Edwards gave me the helmet he had on the night we battled for the championship in 2011. I also have one from the late Paul Newman and one from Dale Earnhardt Sr. that he and I traded for after a Southern 500 in Darlington. I’ve had the honor to be friends with, and to trade helmets with, some pretty neat people in motorsports history.

Shannon Spake, host of FS1’s RaceHub, being given a tour of Stewart’s helmet collection. 

Photo: Courtesy of True Speed Communication.

Do you have a holy-grail car?
Smokey and the Bandit has been my favorite movie since I was a child, and I have a 1979 Trans Am that I love. And I’ll be honest, I’ve never driven it. I’ve pulled it around and moved it to a different part of my shop, but I’m so scared to put a scratch on that car. That’s my favorite, but I don’t know how you can get away from a Ferrari F40—that’s the holy grail for everybody.
You just started a new race team with your wife, drag racer Leah Pruett. How many teams do you own and what’s the biggest challenge of overseeing so many? 
Leah and I got married the Sunday before Thanksgiving this past year and started Tony Stewart Racing, or TSR. It’s in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. We also have the four NASCAR Cup Series teams, an Xfinity Series team, a World of Outlaws Sprint Car team and three cars that race in the All Star Circuit of Champions three-quarter midget series. The key to all of this is to just have good people and, from the ownership standpoint, make sure I give my drivers the best opportunity to win races and contend for championships.

Tony Stewart and drag racer Leah Pruett have been married since November 21, 2021. 

Photo: Courtesy of True Speed Communication.

What is the Tony Stewart Foundation?
There are three main categories that our Tony Stewart Foundation supports, and those are children’s charities, animal charities and injured drivers. I have a lot of friends that are still in the short-track industry and I know what that means to be able to support them. I was just as guilty as everybody else in that realm, in that everything that we made with racing and our side jobs we put into our race cars. So a lot of the drivers don’t have adequate insurance and disability coverage. If something happens, and they have a substantial injury, a lot of times they are in a very bad situation.

The racer and team owner with his dogs Max and Mia. 

Photo by Andrew Coppley, courtesy of True Speed Communication.

The board of the foundation comprises my mother, father and sister, and it’s something that we’re all very passionate about doing together. When I got into NASCAR, we learned very early the value of giving back to the communities. That’s something I’m very proud of on the NASCAR side. It leads by example and does a great job at teaching all of us the importance of giving back and supporting outside charities.
Broadcast by Fox Sports, the 2022 Daytona 500 will start at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 20.

Bubba Wallace Makes History With His First NASCAR Victory at Talladega

Bubba Wallace Makes History With His First NASCAR Victory at Talladega

Bubba Wallace wasn’t going to let anyone, not even Mother Nature, keep him from victory lane.

The driver, who last year pushed NASCAR to take the long-overdue step of banning the Confederate flag from its events, won a rain-shortened race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Ala., on Monday afternoon. It was the  first time the driver took the checkered flag at the NASCAR Cup Series, and it’s the first victory by a Black driver in the sport’s top division since Wendell Scott won at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1963.

The YellaWood 500 was originally supposed to be held on Sunday but was postponed due to inclement weather. Things had cleared up enough for the race to start on Monday, but shortly after the halfway mark the weather took a turn for the worse. It was around this time that Wallace, in the no. 23 car, made his way to the front of the field. He had been in the lead for five laps when an accident and heavy rain forced the race to be called with 117 of 188 laps completed.

The moment Bubba Wallace became a NASCAR Cup Series winner. @BubbaWallace | @Jumpman23
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) October 4, 2021

Wallace’s win comes a year after he was catapulted into the national spotlight for choosing to speak out in support of the protests for racial justice and equality that rose up in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Wallace, who is the only Black driver in the Cup Series, spoke openly about the racism he experienced in an overwhelmingly white sport and displayed the words “Black Lives Matter” on his car. After a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega last year—it was later found to be left over from the previous season and not directed at him, according to an FBI investigation—his fellow drivers rallied around him, symbolically pushing his car to the front of pit row before the start of the Geico 500. Wallace’s activism convinced NASCAR to ban the display of the Confederate flag at its races and implement unconscious bias training for its employees.

Bubba Wallace celebrates his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory 

AP Images

“You always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you and stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry,” Wallace said after the race, according to The New York Times. “There’s been plenty of times when I wanted to give up. But you surround yourself with the right people, and it’s moments like this you appreciate.”
The victory wasn’t just a first for Wallace; it was also a first for the 23XI Racing team, which is co-owned by current NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and NBA great Michael Jordan. Wallace signed on to be the team’s first driver last September after leaving Richard Petty Motorsports. Although he currently sits in 21st place in the Cup Series standings, Wallace has had three top 5 finishes this season, including fifth at the Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 and second at Coke Zero Sugar 400 in August, making his debut season with the team a clear success.

Meet NASCAR’s First Arab-American Female Driver, 21-Year-Old Toni Breidinger

Meet NASCAR’s First Arab-American Female Driver, 21-Year-Old Toni Breidinger

It was a helluva weekend for women. Sarah Thomas became the first woman to officiate the Super Bowl and Toni Breidinger signed with Young’s Motorsports to become NASCAR’s first Arab-American female driver.
Breidinger, a native of Hillsborough, Calif., has already proved she’s a force to be reckoned with on the track. In fact, the 21-year-old is the top female driver in USAC racing history with some 19 victories. Now, she’s switching gears and swapping dirt for asphalt to compete in both the ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year.

Breidinger will make her debut at Daytona International Speedway on February 13 at which point she will become the first-ever Arab-American female driver to participate in any NASCAR national series.
“It’s always cool being first, but I hope I am not the last one,” Breidinger told Robb Report over email.
Breidinger will be behind the wheel of No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet ARCA car.  Young’s Motorsports

The young racer knows that Daytona is going to be the biggest test of her career. “It’s going to be a competitive race, but I know that the Young’s Motorsports team will prepare me a fast race car and we can contend for a top-10 finish,” she said in a statement. “That is our goal.”
“She is not only motivated but determined to make her season a successful one,” Young’s Motorsports team principal Tyler Young said in a press release. “We know that she can go to Daytona next week and be competitive and contend to become the first ARCA Menards Series national series female winner.”
Breidinger is the first-ever Arabic-American female driver to participate in any NASCAR national series.  Roman Empire Management

To be sure, a victory next week would be another notch on Breidinger’s ever-expanding belt. In addition to her burgeoning racing career, she has amassed a sizable social media following and modeled for a handful of big-name brands, including Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS, Head and Shoulders, Sunny D, Tory Burch and more.
For 2021, Breidinger will be behind the wheel of No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet ARCA car and the No. 82 Chevrolet Silverado NASCAR Camping World Truck Series truck. While Daytona is her only race scheduled so far, a full calendar will be released shortly. More power to you, sister.

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