The record books say that Buddy Baker in a 1969 Dodge Daytona race car at the Talladega Superspeedway was the first to go 200 mph on a closed course. It was the time of the aero wars on the NASCAR tracks with Ford/Mercury locked in a real battle with Dodge/Plymouth for bragging rights. Who ever won on Sunday was the one who sold cars on Monday.
In addition to winning races there was also the battle to see who would first break through the 200 mph ceiling. Ford put its hopes on the sloped nose Talladega and Dodge had its iconic extended nose Dodge Daytona with the big wing on the back.
If you ask Hall of Fame legend Bobby Allison who was the first driver to do 200 mph he will give you a little different answer. In his book, Bobby Allison A Racer’s Racer, by Bobby Allison with Tim Packman he tells us why.
All of the Chrysler drivers went to drive the car that was set up for the record run. Bobby can be a little independent at times and this was one of them. He also ran a Chevrolet when he wasn’t driving his factory Dodge. That didn’t set well with the Chrysler group. The Chrysler engineers had the car set up and told each driver how to drive the car but Bobby had his own ideas. Every driver got their turn but not Bobby.
All of the racers were running about 196 mph as Bobby tells it. After a couple of days the others were up to 197 but Bobby still did not get in the car for his turn. Finally, in the last minutes of the next to last test day Bobby got his chance and ultimately got the Dodge Daytona up to 199.7 but not 200. Everyone was shocked and wanted to know how he could go almost 3 mph faster than everyone else.
The test instruments showed that the other drivers could not maintain a steady steering wheel in the turn but Bobby’s wheel was dead solid through the turns. As a result he was not scrubbing off any speed.
With more test time the other drivers managed to bring their averages up to 199 mph. Bobby still was not getting any seat time. However, in the last few minutes he again got his chance. He went out and did right at 201 mph for a lap and then the engine blew.
Dodge then announced that they were going to make a speed run with Buddy Baker to go 200 mph. He never went 201 but he did make 200 mph. All Buddy says is that he made the first “official” run.