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 Columns & Editorials

February 28, 2001

Touching Lives

By Jane Smith

Many have said that racing is over for them. That with Dale Earnhardt on that sunny Sunday afternoon, their love for the sport died. Many keep asking "why". The "whys" are for God to answer but if Dale were here now, he would answer the fans who feel like racing is over for them.

From an early age, all Dale Earnhardt wanted to do was race, race like his dad. He knew in his heart and soul exactly what he wanted and he got it. No one knew he would be such a success, not even his dad. Before his dad could see him get towards the top, he died. Now, Dale Sr. is gone but out of his four children, three have followed their father and grandfather's foot steps.

For what it is worth, I was never an Earnhardt fan. I did not like his method of winning a race but I admired the man. You don't have to agree with someone to admire them, Earnhardt knew that. But after Talledega and his accident there, I had a small soft spot for him. One that actually wanted him to win that 500 in 98.

Dale Earnhardt is not the first driver that this sport has lost. And he won't be the last. But alot of his fans felt like he was the "Iron Man" and could not get hurt. He always came out on top but even Dale knew that someday he might not in racing.

For those who feel racing is over, you must not really be a fan of Dale's. That is not what he would have wanted. He worked hard to build his fan following and even harder to build NASCAR into what we see today. Just because his #3 is not out there on that track, does not mean by any means that he isn't.

Look at old pictures or old tapes with Earnhardt and watch for that little grin of his. Remember it in your head because when you go to the races he loved and cheer or boo just like you did when he was there, he will be grinning and saying to Adam, "see Adam, we did a good job. They care and they will always care.".

Racing has it's dangers but so does anything else. No one is immortal even though you wish them to be. But we can all keep memories alive and make that life worth remembering. For all the racers lost in the past years is someone who knew them, loved them, and has kept their memory alive for all of us. The Earnhardt family will do the same just as the Pettys and the Allisons and the Bonnets.

Take a rest from racing if you need to but don't give it up or you will be forgetting all those that we have lost. They live on in all of us because we chose that and because they touched our lives one way or another.


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