Granny’s Pantry # 8
It was about half way through the season in 1992 when NASCAR caught my interest again---something I hadn’t thought about in years. 1993 was a hard year with the off track deaths of two of the circuit’s biggest stars. but by then I was hooked. For the next eight years, NASCAR became a minor (?) obsession. I listened on the radio and audio taped races I couldn’t catch live. I visited tracks, gathered autographs for my girls and we even got DISH so I could watch the races on Sunday afternoons.
My granny, who would not be one-upped by anybody, heard my incessant ramblings about all things NASCAR. Her response was, “Denton had a young man who drove a race car and was killed. He was a Skeen.” (Denton is the very small nearest town to where Granny lived at High Rock, and that last name is a common one in those parts.)
Who was this driver and what were the details of his story? Because the Internet, even back in the nineties, was my portal to all things unknown, it didn’t take long to discover that the young man from Denton was Buren Skeen.
Buren Skeen graduated from the local race track at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem to compete on the NASCAR circuit in 1965.
He drove the #23 Hill Motor Co. Ford in eight races that year, the last
of which was on Sept. 6. On the second lap of the Southern 500 at Darlington,
SC, Skeen was involved in a wreck that left him with injuries that took his
life a week later. He was a few days short of 29. He left a wife and two young
sons. One of his sons, who was 4 at the time of the wreck, paid a great tribute
to his dad and mom in 2005 when he stated:
“My father died doing what he loved
and our mother put us first in raising my brother and me. Dad would be proud of
Buren Skeen is buried at the Lineberry United Methodist Church outside of Denton, NC. I just recently found his grave with its uniquely engraved headstone—an old-style race car with his name and the number 71 on the door. A little more research revealed that was his old Bowman Gray car.
I’ll continue to love the sport, but the obsession ended with the death of Dale Earnhardt in 2000---that was one sacrifice too far. As proud as the Skeen family must have been of their husband and father that day at Darlington in 1965 when the race began, I’m sure by the end of the 2nd lap, they would agree with my conclusion.
May they both rest in peace, and I hope to get the chance to meet these two drivers in eternity.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20-21
*[R. Miller, (2013). Bowman Gray Stadium, Arcadia Publishing, p. 39 (pic BGRA) p.43]