Baker entered his first race in 1939 in Greenville, South Carolina, but didn't finish it because one of his tires blew off. Despite his inauspicious start, Baker went on to become one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR's history. He was the first back-to-back winner of the Grand National (now Sprint Cup) Championship in 1956 and 1957. He was second twice (1955 and 1958) and finished in the top five on four other occasions.
In 1967 Baker switched to NASCAR's Grand American division, where he was also very successful.
After his retirement in 1976, Baker opened up the Buck Baker Racing School, where Jeff Gordon drove his first stock car. His son, Buddy Baker is a 34-year Winston Cup veteran and now teaches at the school along with Buck's daughter, Susie Baker.
Baker was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame in 1982, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1998.