1979 #28 Napa/Spectra
1979 #28 Napa/Spectra / Oldsmobile 442
Original Driver: The Gentle Giant, Buddy Baker
Current Driver: John Davis
Bakerís ride was wicked fast, to be sure, but it was the carís color scheme that had everyone spooked. The Olds was painted a hue so similar to the Daytona asphalt that is disappeared like a chameleon, materializing out of thin air. Dubbed the Gray Ghost, it proved to be the supernatural force that finally exorcised Bakerís Daytona demons.
In 17 previous starts, Baker won the Daytona 480 more times than he cared to remember. It was the pesky Daytona 500 he had trouble with. Over seven tries between 1973 and 1979, he led six races and more than 330 laps but failed to finish five times. Finally, in 1980, the Gray Ghost outran Bakerís past, his bad luck, and 41 other cars. Baker led 143 of 200 laps and captured the flag with an average speed of 177.602 mph, the fastest Daytona 500 in history. ďI held down the throttle and held my breath,Ē Baker said. ďI figured the faster I got it over with, maybe I could get done before my luck got me again.Ē