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“Hoot” Auton passes away Sunday

Robert “Hoot” Arlin Auton of Hickory, N.C., passed away Sunday at the age of 75. Auton worked as an official at every level of NASCAR – from the short tracks of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – for 37 years.

Auton is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jerolyn Stallings Auton, and two sons and two daughters. Son Wayne Auton is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director; and his other son Robert “Buster” Auton is the NASCAR Director of Transportation.

“Hoot was one of NASCAR’s pioneers and will be missed by the entire NASCAR community,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Hoot Auton was born March 20, 1933 in Lincoln County. He originally became involved with NASCAR providing fire equipment before becoming a NASCAR official. He was also retired as owner of Auton Remodeling and was a member of Springs Road Baptist Church.

He is survived by Buster Auton and wife Mary of Conover, N.C., Wayne Auton and wife Libby of Hickory, N.C., Theresa Parker and husband Don of Conover, N.C., Brenda Abernethy and husband Randy of Vale, N.C. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother and three sisters, and survived by siblings Burgin Auton of Vale, N.C., Dean Auton of Newton, N.C., William “Dood” Auton of Morganton, N.C., Frances Peeler of Newton, N.C., Ethel Schronce of Vale, N.C., Ima Jean Carter of Hickory, N.C., Barbara Stallings of Vale, N.C., and Linda Stallings of Vale, N.C., as well as eight grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and a number of nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 2:30 p.m. at Springs Road Baptist Church in Hickory, with Dr. Bob Philbeck and Dr. Spencer Edmonds officiating. The body will lie in state 30 minutes prior to the service. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Burke Mortuary in Newton.

Memorials may be made to Springs Road Baptist Church Debt Retirement Fund.

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