CountDown to daytona: 46

January 09, 2013, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service,

There are 46 days left before the Feb. 24, 2013 Daytona 500; hence, today’s number is: 46.

The number of career victories in NASCAR’s premier series for the late Buck Baker, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame two weeks before this year’s running of the Great American Race. Baker won back-to-back championships in what is now NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series in 1956 and 1957, posting 24 of his 46 career victories in those two seasons combined. Baker, however, had little success in Daytona, posting a best finish of fourth at the Beach & Road course in 1957 and a top finish of second (in a Petty Enterprises Plymouth) at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. That runner-up result came in a 1964 qualifying race for the Daytona 500. Baker’s top finish in NASCAR’s most prestigious race was ninth in 1961, his only top 10 in the 500.