Daytona 500 win car...
The Day Dale Earnhardt Died
My brother had come up from San Antonio to spend Daytona weekend with us..... It had been awhile since we had got to watch a race together. We had had a blast all week. Getting ready for what was the biggest race of the year. We settled in on that Sunday afternoon to route for our favorite driver.....him Rusty....me and the wife Dale..... It was an awesome race. We enjoyed the whole week with the intensity that a race weekend had, but that it was a whole week. NASCAR fanatics that we are, it was our Superbowl. Everything was just right...Mickey in first, Junior in second and Dale covering 3rd....... What more could a NASCAR fan ask for.
Then it happened. A wreck that makes you think from previous events was just a minor event. Dale Earnhardt had hit the wall. Head on. Like many times before. He had drove the #3 to the pits, got taped up, then went back out to get the points he needed to stay in contention.
But not today.
I will never forget Kenny Schrader running to Dales window. I will also never forget the feeling that he must have had when he reached that window, He knew. He waived frantically for the rescue crew. They did their best. But it was too late. That is one thing I will remember Kenny for.....and always respect him......and feel for him.....
Those of us watching the race were left not knowing what had happened. The broadcast ended with a shot of the ambulance heading slowly down the road.
I remember a few minutes later reading the headline from Jayski. I will never forget the feeling when reading the words that Dale Earnhardt had died.
In retrospect, I felt so sorry for my brother. He knew what Dale meant to us. But our kids were a different story. They knew how much we like racing, but this was different. Someone had lost their life. Someone we had grown to love as a family was now gone. They had to endure the full brunt of the emotional trauma that me and the wife felt. I know that they also hurt... NASCAR had lost a "favorite son". But I also thank God my brother was there.....to help us make it through what would probably be the worst days of our lives. Everything was such a fog. I know it seems strange...and a lot of people will never understand.......that we had lost a family member.
I remember sitting in Chili's restaurant eating.......my family and my brother......2 days after Dale's death...still feeling like we are in a fog.....and actually having a hard time moving on with regular life......
I remember going back to work. And finding that my fellow employees had "stashed" my Earnhardt cards so people would not steal them to make a profit. And to find that a member of my team had written a song about his death. Hopefully you are listening to that now. Tommy, thank you. I will never forget.
Dale Earnhardt meant so much to us. He was the underdog who fought to make it to the top.....and did. Life gives us heroes. Take them. Use them. Let them inspire us to be the best. But never forget.......
Last, but certainly not least.....my wife had went to the local Albertsons and put dibbs on the really kewl 3'X5' Dale Earnhardt Oreos inflatable car. Chances were slim and none that she would get it after his death. But she made it happen. I came home Tuesday night to see the car in my living room. It brought a tear to my eye, and then some. She rocks!!!
Thank you brother, for being there when we needed you. I think it was meant to be. And I will never forget.
Initial story from Jayski...where we got the news....
SAD NEWS - Dale Earnhardt
Dies at Daytona: from the
AP/MSNBC - Seven-time
Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt died from injuries suffered in a crash on
the final lap of Daytona 500 on Sunday. He was 49.
from That's Racin': Seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, 49, was killed in a last-lap wreck involving Ken Schrader on the backstretch while a car that he owned, driven by Michael Waltrip, won the race. He was pronounced dead at Halaifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. Waltrip's win was his first in 463 Winston Cup starts. Dale Earnhardt Jr.finished second. And see a story at: NASCAR Online - The announcement was made at 7:00pm/et by NASCAR President Mike Helton.(That's Racin') and SpeedVision.
Earnhardt is survived by his wife, Teresa; two sons, Dale Jr. and Kerry, and two daughters, Kelly and Taylor Nicole.
Condolences go out to Earnhardt's family, friends and fans(2-18-2001)
Jayski Earnhardt page where I first learned of his death... go to the
bottom, of the page and work up.....some very good stuff..
I had a friend say to me today that I need to change my webpage and remove the part about "5 years ago we lost Dale Earnhardt". I have to say I was a little offended at first. It's my page. I'll say what I want and feel. But then I realized what I think he was really saying....it's time to move on. Not forget, but move on. And to celebrate his life and not dwell on his death. It's taken this long to realize that.
I will probably still shed a tear or two, but I would hope that will always be the case as it means you have not forgotten, but still care. Thanks friend.
And besides, we still have this to be proud of everyday....
our 2002 Monte Carlo SS
So it's been 10 years now. Time heals all wounds. It also takes some of those memories too. But not all of them. I can still remember how I felt that day. I remember how I hoped that Dale Earnhardt Jr would carry on his fathers legacy....but now I think that load is just a little too much for him to bear. Maybe he was behind before he even started. Those old mans shoes are just too big to be filled. I have since moved on to support Kyle Busch as far as winning a championship., but I still respect Jr for who he is and what he has had to deal with. Nascar has certainly changed in 10 years. I think Dale would have had a lot to say about where we have gone and I think Nascar would be completely different. Two car drafting at Daytona...who would have thought...???
It still hurts, but we have moved on. We still have the memories and one bad ass car t remind us of the Intimidator!!!
YouTube Videos.. 1 2
A VIDEO I TOOK IN 1997 AT TEXAS... HERE
Jayski Earnhardt page
ALSO...NASCAR.com tribute here..very well done!!!
10th anniversary of Dales Daytona 500 win...