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 Columns & Editorials

February 19, 2001

Sadness of the Soul

By Jane Smith
There are no words that help. To say that he died doing
what he loved, does not help. We have lost four good
men in the last year - Adam, Kenny, Tony and now Dale.
All have died because of hitting a wall full force at a high
speed. Human bodies are not meant to do that.

If we are going to race and race hard like Winston Cup,
we have to make it safer. For a sport that started out to be
"just for fun", it is costing too much. One life is too much,
four is unreasonable.

In all the sadness there is anger. Anger that this keeps
happening. From John Nemechek back at Homestead in
a truck race in l997 to Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona
500, enough is enough.

Racing is dangerous, we all know that. But with all the
expert safety people we have today, someone has to find
the answer to the sudden, hard impact death. It it takes
padding walls or a different compound to make them
softer or padding the cars to take more impact instead
of the driver, whatever, the cost is not too much compared
to the families going on without their fathers, husbands,
sons and grandfathers.

Too many times now I have sat down to write about a
death in racing. Whether it is on the local level or the
big Winston Cup level, the sadness has anger in it. Anger
that it happened, anger that the sport we love has cost
a family so much.

Dale Earnhardt was not just a seven time Winston Cup
Champion. He was a husband, a father and a grandfather.
We only knew him from his racing career, his family knew
him for everything else. Yes, he was part of our family, our
racing family, and our children and maybe even grand
children loved him. We will continue his racing footprints
for all time, his family will continue his love for them for


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