Darlington Native Bailey Walker Has Worked His Way Up to Jeff Gordon’s Pit Crew
By Lou Bezjak - scnow.com
Bailey Walker’s pit crew debut didn’t go as planned.
But Walker has gotten a lot better since making a mistake during his first race in Kenley, N.C., and has worked his way up to NASCAR’s top series. He is in his fourth year as a jackman for four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 team.
Walker got to showcase his talents this weekend for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 in Darlington, where he lived until he was 14 and attended The Byrnes Schools before moving to Myrtle Beach.
“It is a big deal when we come here. Everyone that helped and supported me are still in this area, so I want to do well,” Walker said.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Walker admits he wasn’t a big NASCAR fan growing up but did attend some races at Darlington before moving to the Grand Strand and attending Socastee High School. He played football for the Braves under coach Burney Bourne and later in college at Gardner-Webb.
After college, Walker said he didn’t really have a plan but got introduced to racing from one of his former teammates at G-W that worked in NASCAR. He did an internship and eventually began working on his craft in the Pro Cup and ARCA Series.
Walker’s first race was a Pro Cup race with Matt Hawkins at Southern National Raceway Park. During that event, Walker didn’t get the jack out far enough and the right side of Hawkins’ car ran over it.
“I learned from there you got to get out of the way and..."
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