Friday, February 18, 2011

10 Years Ago Today.......

"Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles." ~Alex Karras

One of the saddest and tragic days in sports...(warning--if you are not a NASCAR fan move to the next blog) and the day that NASCAR racing changed forever.

Dale Earnhardt died 10 years ago today. I know it sounds weird but he felt like family...he was one of my heroes. Now...if you know who this is--you either hated him or you loved him.
My family has been involved in racing since I was a kid, first drag racing then circle track racing. From 1985-1996 we had a team (my father was crew chief/owner, my brother drove and me? ...well, I took care of the body work, lettering and tires on the car as well as wore a hat called "GoFer"--go for this and go for that)a couple of other fellas helped us. We raced at our local NASCAR sanctioned track...there I met MANY of the drivers. Like Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Kerry-Kelly & Dale Earnhardt Jr and Dale Earnhardt himself.
In 1992 we were involved in a race at Martinsville while the "big guys" were there. I was on cloud 9...let the name dropping begin! I met Richard & Kyle Petty, Ken Schrader, Ernie Irvin, Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, Rusty Wallace, Harry Gant (he invited me into his hauler), Mark Martin (I'm taller than him) and Earnhardt himself---got to go into the lounge area of the hauler...Richard Childress, "Chocolate" Myers and Kirk Shelmerdine all chatted with me. It felt AWESOME walking around the pits...but it really surprised me that several of the drivers including Ernie Irvin & Ken Shrader came to our car and asked US questions!! I have lots of pictures...only I haven't scanned them. OH--I have lots of autographs too...obviously! It is a weekend of memories I will cherish FOREVER!!
Sometimes I miss those racing days but then again...I love having my nights and weekends to do what I want to do! It's a demanding sport, I really don't know how these guys do it. I know all that we had to go through on the small circuit...WHEW!!

From my 2006 visit to DEI.

R.I.P Dale

Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!


Channon said...

I was never a Dale fan, but it was impossible (for me anyway) not to admire his talent and respect his skill. I'll never forget that day.

Nichole said...

I was never a Dale fan either... but like Chan said, it was impossible not to admire him. Now that he's gone and we learn about the man behind the Intimidator, I admire him even more. The stories his friends tell are amazing. I hold a special place in my heart for Ken Schrader and what he went thru... being the first one to the car and everything he went thru after that.