Sunday, February 18, 2007

I miss ole Dale Earnhardt


It is hard to believe it has been six years since we lost Dale Earnhardt. I remember that day so well. I remember the details of that Daytona 500 like they were yesterday. I remember Earnhardt slinging up towards the wall, getting hit by Kenny Schader. I remember Darrell Waltrip in the Fox Sports booth saying, after yelling for his brother's win, " I hope Dale is alright." I remember veteran racer Kenny Schader taking a startling step back from Earnhardt's car in the infield and motionally frantically for emergency workers to get to the car. I remember Dale Jr., still in uniform, running to the infield care center.


I remember a visibly shaken Mike Helton, then President of NASCAR telling the world, "we have lost Dale Earnhardt."


It felt like a family member had died.


Dale Earnhardt was one of us. He had worked his way out of the cotton mills of North Carolina to become arguably the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. He did so with a determination to win and boundless courage. He was my hero.


There was more to him than just on the track. A couple of years before his death, my brother and I had stood out in the rain at Greenville-Pickens Speedway for an autograph session with Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty. Petty was a nice guy, as well, I must note. But, for some reason, Gordon would only sign certain things. When I got to Earnhardt, all I had for him to sign was my Earnhardt cap I had on my head, which was soaked. You never forget your encounter with a legend, so here is how it went.


Earnhardt looked up for the table and smiled at me. "This thing is all wet." Then he paused, and said, "thank you for standing out there for so long, let me see if I can find a dry place to sign." Earnhardt did. He signed on the corner of the bill that was dry. He handed the hat back to me and said, "go somewhere and get dry." That cap sits on the bookshelf in my home office. It was one of my most prized possessions.


That was Dale Earnhardt. One of us. A hero. I am still a hardcore NASCAR fan, but I sure do miss ole Earnhardt. He was and is still "the man."

10 comments:

  1. Ole #3 would never be intimidated by a punk like Ron Wilson.

    For the sake of Dale's sacred memory, please do not asociate yourself with him publicly any more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Salkehatichie SlimFebruary 20, 2007

    In case you want to see what you missed:

    http://www.wyff4.com/video/11057472/index.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dale Sr. would be ashamed of you, Chicken Brian. He would have showed up and took his bullet, politically, of course.

    Where were you Chicken Brian? Did mommy ask you not to do this?

    Southern Fried

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jesus said let the dead bury the dead, and that is what you now are, politically dead.

    You chose to hang out with the dead instead of fight for what was right.

    I am so disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sometimes a man must forego his ego, swallow his pride, so to speak, and do what is best for his friends and his fraternal brothers. In short, sometimes doing ones duty is not defined by tabloid like reporters or anonymous posters and callers to radio talks shows. There are times when one's ego does not count. Those who do not understand that have never knew a friend. They have never knew the sense of duty. They are lukewarm souls, who are neither hot nor cold, and usually end up spat out of the pallate of life.

    I apologize to no one for defining my duty differently than others would have me do. If that is wrong, as Lincoln once said, ten thousand angels saying I was right would make no difference. If that is right, then all the snipes, insults and jokes will make no difference when it comes down to me facing God one day.

    Enough said on the matter. I will keep callin' like I see them. I hope you folks keep reading and commenting.

    I look forward to future exchanges.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey, McCarty, do you know what that white stuff is on the top of chickin shit? It's chickenshit, of course, just like you.

    You know, we will still make you pay, politically of course.

    You damn chicken.

    Southern Fried

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  7. I knew Brian McCarty was a gamecock fan, but I did not know he was all chicken after all.

    Ron Wilson owns your liberal ass.

    Even WYFF is now in our hands.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dale Earnhardt would love us Hispanics who work as hard for our dreams as he did.

    Paco

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  9. I say F Dale Earnhardt, and F you, liberal Brian McCarty.

    Earnhardt was the man in black, celebrating a color we all know what he meant.

    You and he are Black lovers.

    Ron Wilson rules. Sharpshooters for Wilson always.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In the words of Dale Earnhardt, "kiss my ass" anonymous.

    ReplyDelete