Gary Buckner, a member of Marlboro Team Penske since 1993,
passed away unexpectedly on Friday, March 8 in Reading, PA.
Buckner was born October 18, 1958 in Fort Walton, Florida, and
grew up in England. He began his career in racing in 1981 when
he took a position in the fabrication department of Reynard
Racing Cars Ltd. From there, he would go on to work for Vince
Granatelli Racing and Hall-VDS Racing prior to coming to
Marlboro Team Penske.
Buckner began his career with Marlboro Team Penske at the end
of the 1993 season in the fabrication department. He
eventually became the fabrication manager for Penske Racing in
Reading, PA, where he oversaw all aspects of the Team’s
fabrication department. Buckner also organized and contributed
to the construction of all of the Team’s pit equipment.
In addition to his fabrication duties, Buckner was the tire
man for Two-Time National Champion Gil de Ferran and served as
the outside rear tire changer on de Ferran’s pit crew.
Prior to his work on de Ferran’s crew, Buckner was on the pit
crew for Two-Time Indianapolis 500 winner and Two-Time Formula
One World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi and Two-Time
Indianapolis 500 winner and Two-Time National Champion Al
Unser, Jr. Buckner was with Marlboro Team Penske for 31 race
wins, including two Indianapolis 500 victories and three
Aside from his career in auto racing, Buckner also had his
pilot’s license for single engine planes and was trained as a
glider sun-flight instructor.
Buckner also had a passion for fishing and enjoyed the
opportunity to sneak away from the track and relax.
Buckner, is survived by his wife Kristen Edmonds Buckner, his
three children Russell D. Buckner,
Ryan C. Buckner and Megan E. Buckner, and by his father James
A memorial service for Buckner will take place on Tuesday,
March 12th at the Calvary Bible Fellowship Church in Sinking
Springs, PA. Funeral Services will be held on Friday, March 15
at 10:30 am at Losantville Separate Baptist Church in
Losantville, IN. Contributions may be made to the “Buckner
Children Trust Fund” c/o First Union Bank, Green Hills Branch,
101 Love Road, Reading, PA 19607.
“It was a true pleasure to know and work with Gary, he was a
first-class individual,” said Roger S. Penske. “First and
foremost, Gary was a devoted family man to his wife and three
children. He was an inspiration on the track as well, always
displaying the utmost dedication to his Team and the sport of
auto racing. He was with us for our record season in 1994 and
he hung in through the lean years and helped us get back on
top in 2000 and 2001. I will always think of Gary as a true
Champion in every respect. I’m thankful racing brought him
into our lives to share our time together.”
“Above all, Gary was a person I liked very much,” said Gil de
Ferran. “He was one guy that was absolutely imperative to the
success of our Team. Not only because he worked hard himself,
but his attitude was second to none and very contagious. He
was a fierce competitor and always pushed everyone on the Team
to work to the best of their ability. It was a joy to work
with Gary, he was just a nice guy.”
“Gary was a big part of our Team and his presence will be
truly missed,” said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing.
“He wasn’t just a Penske employee he was a Racer at heart.”
TEAM TO HONOR BUCKNER AT PHOENIX
Plans are currently underway for the Team to honor Buckner at
this weekend’s Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix
to discuss this article