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Ivan Baldwin
Born: August 26, 1946      Died: September 29, 1996
Home: Modesto, CA

Ivan Baldwin  was a NASCAR driver who competed in six Winston Cup Series events in his career.

Baldwin's debut came in 1971, when he competed at Riverside. Starting 28th in the field of forty, Baldwin lost an engine on the second lap and finished a disappointing 39th. He luckily managed to improve in two other starts that year, showing 26th at Ontario and then overcoming issues at Riverside in the June event at Riverside to finish a career-best 16th.

Baldwin stepped it down to just a one-off appearance in 1972, competing in the season opener at Riverside. It was a respectable race for the driver, starting 36th in the field of forty but completing most of the laps to turn it into a 20th place effort.

Baldwin's final two races didn't actually happen until 1975, both occurring yet again at Riverside. This time, though, the results were miserable for Baldwin. He finished last (35th) in both races, falling victim to engine issues in the early laps of the event.

The West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame is a Hall of Fame for people associated with late model stock car racing on the West Coast of the United States. Many NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series champions are inducted in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in St. George, Utah.

The hall of fame was created in 2001. Nominees are either retired, deceased or have moved from one area of participation to another, or have been active in their primary field for at least 25 years. The first class was inducted in 2002

Ivan Baldwin was inducted in 2006.   His long time friend Gary Nelson presented this well-deserved Award to Ivan’s daughter Tammy.                 Official Website: StockCarReunion.com


Inductee Ivan Baldwin started his racing career in 1966 with little fanfare, other than being suspended for the ’67 season after a dispute with an official.

In ’68 he was back, winning for the first time on September 29th at Orange Show Speedway. By the early 70’s he’d won many Southern California races, and points championships five times at three tracks in ‘73 and ‘74, driving cars that he had built. You see, not only could Ivan Baldwin drive a race car, he was a master mechanic as well.

Ivan Baldwin (3rd from the right) and Gary Nelson (2nd from the left)

By the end of ’74 Ivan and his friend and confidant, Gary Nelson, had caught the eye of Winston West regular Jack McCoy and soon joined the growing McCoy Racing Products team, operating the West car and others. In 1976 Ivan won 28 of 44 races entered, including two Riverside races and the International Driver’s Championship in the Pacific Northwest.

Ivan Baldwin (L) & Gary Nelson (in engine compartment as Crew Chief) - A hard combination to beat

Ivan, along with Carrera shock maker Dick Anderson, pioneered the coil-over suspension design and, with Gary Nelson’s vital role in development, produced what would become the standard for late model cars of the future.

In late‘76 , after receiving offers to join the new DiGard team for whom Darrell Waltrip was driving, Nelson decided to head South. Gary won with Ivan for the last time at Riverside in January of ‘77, and left for Daytona.

This split became a turning point for Ivan as well. He left the successful McCoy operation and opened his own shop with his friend Arley Cook.

He worked with Kenny Boyd in 1980, and they won 22 feature events together. Then in ‘82 and ‘83 he worked with Tim Gillett, and in ‘84 they won the Stockton Speedway Championship.

Ivan won a Winston West championship as crew chief with the legendary Hershel McGriff in 1986, and then built a Thunderbird for Tony Oddo, and it ran well, winning a Winston West race at Stockton the first time out.

Shortly after that, when Bill Elliott needed a car for Riverside, a deal was struck, and Bill drove that T-Bird. Bill hot-lapped the car and was so impressed that a car, built by this obscure car builder that he had never heard of before, could run so well.

The following year, Baldwin sold his shop and moved east, joining Elliott. The story goes that he taught Elliott how to win on short tracks.

“Ivan the Terrible” as he was known to friends and adversaries alike, grew up on the short tracks of Southern California, but he is renowned throughout the stock car racing world as one of the best chassis men of all time.

Young Gun, Kevin Conway, Set To Tackle The NASCAR Busch Series     by Marty Tyler-Staff Writer    2/10/2003

In 1992, when Davey Allison was still there, my uncle, Brett Conway, went to work for Robert Yates Racing," Kevin recalls. "He was the head engineer for several years...all through Ernie Irvan's tenure with the 28 car. It was during that time that I was able to meet Ernie. Also, I was able to work on Darrell Waltrip's Western Auto Busch team. I was the floor sweeper in the shop and the little kid that went around buggin' everybody. Ivan Baldwin managed Darrell's team and Ivan was one of Ernie's mentors. He was responsible for getting Ernie involved with racing out in California, took Ernie under his wing and brought him along as a driver. So between my uncle and Ivan Baldwin, they kept Ernie abreast of what I was doing in the Legend Series and Late Models."

"At the end of 2001 my uncle ran into Ernie and Ernie asked what I was doing. I was actually driving for a truck team that went out of business before we ever got to the first race of the season. Ernie was trying to get a truck team started and asked that I call him. That deal didn't really work out. The sponsorship fell through, but Ernie and I just really clicked. Ernie understood where I was coming from, not having a name to fall back on or money behind me. Much in the same way Dale Earnhardt and Ivan Baldwin mentored him and gave him a chance to make a name for himself, Ernie said that's what he wants to do for me. Ernie has introduced me to everybody he knows and we have made a pact that whatever we do, we will do it together."

  • In May of 1980, Ivan Baldwin drove a Mercury to victory in a 200-lap NASCAR Winston West Series race at Stockton 99 Speedway.

Baldwin & Phillips - Looks don't count money

Larry Phillips did love to race in California. Oh yeah, he loved going against those tanned, blonde-headed drivers with their trophy wives and their pretty cars, so pretty you wanted to carry pictures of them in your wallet (the cars, not the wives). Those California cars all had sweet stripes and fresh paint jobs and every doo-hickey you could imagine. The chrome was so polished you could shave in front of it.

So, one year, had to be in the early 1970s, Larry brought his junkyard-looking Chevelle, which was still caked in dirt from a race in Muskogee, Okla., a race Larry, naturally, won. "Way I remember it," Michael Wallace says, "the mirrors were taped to the side of the car."

This was in Stockton, Calif., home track of Ivan Baldwin, who was alternately nicknamed Ivan the Terrible and Ivan the Great depending on who was doing the nicknaming. Ivan Baldwin was the fastest driver in Stockton.

Ivan walked up to that Chevelle and grimaced. Larry, at the time, was underneath, trying to fix something with a blowtorch and a wire hanger.

"Don't they ever chip the dirt off these cars where you come from?" Ivan asked.

Larry Phillips looked up. He did not say a word. He never did. But over the next few days, he and his dirt-covered Chevelle took $5,500 of Ivan Baldwin's money.

"Those folks in California had never seen a real fast car," Larry says. "They never did understand: Who cares what a car LOOKS like?"

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Ivan Baldwin Winston Cup DRIVER Statistics

Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1971 24 3 of 48 0 0 0 0 272 0 3,535   35.7 27.0
1972 25 1 of 31 0 0 0 0 123 0 1,120 98 36.0 20.0
1975 28 2 of 30 0 0 0 0 9 0 1,040 112 17.0 35.0
3 years 6 0 0 0 0 404 0 5,695   29.5 28.5

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