“The sport will never be the same” is something you hear a lot since Dale Earnhardt passed years ago. I remember it like it happened just last year. I was in middle school and watched the whole race. I saw the car hit the wall and never thought anything about it, till the news broke that my hero, Dale Earnhardt Sr. had passed away. I was shocked.
That week was tough for so many NASCAR fans, I remember that the schools janitor, who was a huge #3 fan, took off for almost 2 weeks because he was in mourning. Though he may have only met Dale once or twice at a race and got an autograph like most fans it was like you lost someone in your family. It was like your uncle, or brother had been taken way to early. And in the sport of NASCAR a hero, the baddest man behind the wheel, was taken from us. I mean who would or even could take his place?
Even 12 years later those shoes are yet to be filled and to be honest I doubt they ever will be filled. Yea we have guys like Tony Stewart who have a lot of passion for the sport, a lot of attitude, and that rebel spirit, but still no Dale Earnhardt. And he’s probably just fine with that. I mean who would wanna follow in the foot steps of a legend like that? Not me.
I’ve been very lucky to meet folks that were close to Dale over the years, and hundreds of his fans, friends and even family members, and they all still talk so highly of this man in black. He may have looked like the meanest man on the track but he was a true gentleman with a heck of a sense of humor the minute he took that helmet off. Something that every NASCAR driver should strive to do better!
Yesterday, 12 years ago, was the day that Dale was taken, and I wanted to know how everyone remembered that man with the white number 3… Heres what a few said.
Jerrod C- ”The Very Last Bad@** of NASCAR Drivers”
Matthew- “Daytona 500 When He Finally Won. There Is So Many Of Them. Enjoy All Of His Memories”
Jared S- ” I remember when he gave Kurt Busch the finger when Kurt rubbed him down the front stretch, laps before he died at Daytona in 2001. Kurt was a Rookie. Little did we know at the time but Dale made it aware and marked Kurt as a jerk. Haha”
Amanda E- “One Amazing Man And Driver.”
Dale was the man. And thats all there is too it. He was the one guy that you either loved, or hated because you were a Jeff Gordon or Dale Jarrett fan. And he was fine with that. I don’t know if there will ever be another man like him in the sport, but I’d love to see a modern day Dale. Guess only time can tell.
What was your favorite memory of Dale Earnhardt? Leave a comment below! Thanks!