Old Man Baird Going for Gold at Talladega; Could Become Oldest Stock Car Superspeedway Winner in History TALLADEGA AL (4-22-09) - Veteran and former ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Bill Baird is 59 years old; but, these days, he's feeling much ...
Old Man Baird Going for Gold at Talladega; Could Become Oldest Stock Car Superspeedway Winner in History
TALLADEGA AL (4-22-09) - Veteran and former ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Bill Baird is 59 years old; but, these days, he's feeling much sportier.
"Still feel like I'm 40," Baird said, who will be 60 in July. "Still feel like I'm as good of a driver as I was in my 40s. And the day I feel like I can't run fast will be the day I won't show up. I'm not there yet." To back that up, Baird finished third at Daytona in 2008. And if he can win the ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway this Friday, he would become the oldest stock car superspeedway winner in history. Currently, that distinction belongs to Iggy Katona, who won at Daytona in 1974 at age 57.
"Out of my career, Daytona and Talladega are two places I haven't won ...... yet. To be the oldest winner at either place would be pretty cool; I wouldn't mind having that. But, really, just winning here at Talladega or Daytona would be unbelievable enough without the oldest-guy-in-the-world thing."
Baird is entered in a no. 52 Ken Schrader-owned Saturn Welding Chevrolet. It's the same car he was running fifth with at Daytona this year before getting caught up in one of the multi-car wrecks. After the car got a new front clip, Baird says the car is better than it was before.
"We tested really good in this car. There's no doubt in my mind this car is going to race really well. I can tell you this; this is the best car I've ever had here. I also feel like our superspeedway program is completely back on track. We sort of went away for awhile, so I feel like we had to get caught back up. We've learned a lot over the last couple years - feel like I understand the speedway program more now." Baird's relationship with Schrader goes way back.
"Kenny and I go way, way back. Back to my ASA days. I bought my first asphalt car from Kenny in '93. Since then, we've gotten to know each other and our friendship has just grown from there."
Schrader was Baird's car owner when Baird won the 1999 ARCA RE/MAX Series driving championship.
"Kenny's coming on Friday. He'll be announcing the race with the SPEED guys. I'm his development driver," added Baird with a big chuckle. Baird, despite running up front in the last two superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega, got caught up in multi-car wrecks in both races.
"My mistake in the last two, I think, is that I was just sitting around riding. This time, if the car wants to go forward, I'm gunna go. I'm not gunna mess around with it. I know the car will do it. The closer we are to the front, the less likely we're going to get caught up.
"I still have that competitive spirit in me. It's still there. And I know we're good enough to win this thing."