Rick Baldwin

Richard Allen Baldwin (June 10, 1955 – June 12, 1997) was an American racing driver who competed on the NASCAR circuit. He ran a few races each season during 1983-85 running his self-owned Dodge Mirada and Chrysler Imperial.

On June 14, 1986, Baldwin was substituting for the injured Buddy Arrington at the Miller American 400 at Michigan International Speedway, part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. During qualifying, Baldwin spun and hit the wall, driver's side first, between turns one and two. The protective window netting may have failed to prevent his head from striking the wall during the impact, resulting in massive head injuries.

In January 1992, a suit filed by Baldwin's wife Deborah, claiming the window net had allowed her husband's head to strike the wall, was decided in favor of NASCAR, which was cleared of negligence by a 12-person state district court jury.

After eleven years in a coma, Baldwin died two days after his 42nd birthday in 1997. The fatality was the first driver death in the history of Michigan International Speedway. Baldwin was survived by his wife and two daughters Jennifer and Tiffany, and his mother and father.

By Dean Hanley

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