J. E. "Skimp" Hersey, was a resident of St. Augustine, Florida and an aspiring stock car driver who knew the dangers of pushing a car to, and beyond, the brink of disaster. He understood those risks and decided his obsession with speed and success was a more compelling one than common sense.
In his first official NASCAR race, a 100-mile Stock Car race at the Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta on 12 June 1950, his car burst into flames as he drove down the front stretch on the 81st lap. At the first turn, he drove his Ford into the banking and scrambled out only to become disoriented in the imense heat and fall back into the flaming fuel. Badly burnt, Skimp Hersey died a day later, the first known fatality from injuries in a NASCAR sanctioned event.