Today is the seventh anniversary of the tragic fatal accident that took the life of one of the most amazing men, and one of my very few heros, Dale Earnhardt Sr.
I remember that day vividly. I had been at my sister’s house, and we didn’t even watch the Daytona. We turned on the TV and it was all over the news. His passing struck me very deeply, and still, as I write this, I feel a definite sadness for a life cut short.
Growing up as a farm kid, car nut and chevy guy, it’s just natural that I would have great respect for Dale. I remember many races in the early 90s, when he earned the name “The Intimidator”, where he just dominated the sport. One race in particular was the 1991 Busch Clash. The race was run in two 10 lap segments, the field was inverted after the first race. Dale won the first segment handily, and had to start at the rear of the field for the second segment. The first lap of the second segment he passed four cars, in the second lap he dropped the car to the apron and passed the remaining nine cars. It was one of my personally most memorable NASCAR memories.
Dale wasn’t the best man who ever lived. He had his share of problems when it came to family and his personal life, but one thing always struck me about him. No matter how famous he became or how much money he made, he never forgot his roots. At the time of his death I remember a number of interviews with local North Carolina residents remarking on his generosity and kindness. On the track he was all business and would spare nothing to win, off the track he was undoubtedly a man of character who is still greatly missed.