Boogity boogity boogity boys…

by Sankinator on February 26, 2012

Good old DW belts out the rally cry as the drivers white knuckle their steering wheel as the green flag indicates the beginning of another running of the greatest event in motorsports the Daytona 500.

This used to be my Super Bowl, the day that was built up for an entire year prior and a week of frenzied racing leading up the checkered flag that would crown a champion starting the season. No other sport begins with the creme de la creme of events.

I think back to the days that I would rise early in crazed anticipation. The menu had already been planned the week before, the beer chilled to perfection, the living furniture already arranged for optimum viewing and the TV being warmed up by 8 a.m.

The media already spewing their carefully planned marketing initiatives, touting this restaurant, that car manufacturer, this aftershave and the coolest cigarettes made by RJ Reynolds. Let’s face it, its been proven over and over that nascar fans are the most loyal of all sporting fans in the world. Bright colors, high speed and wrecks that make grown men cry all make up one small portion of the event that has its roots in bootlegging.

Then, one fateful February rolled around. My dreams would be forever crushed by a culmination of skill, strategy, risk, pure insanity and ultimately tragedy. The last lap of the 2001 running of the Daytona 500, a mad dash for the finish, 3 cars flying under one flag are in the top 4 positions and a foolish last minute block on the last turn before the finish line and the checkered flag.

In an effort to ensure that one of his cars crossed the finish line first to secure the crowned jewel of auto racing, Dale Earnhardt sealed his fate. He moved over the block Sterling Marlin from making a last effort move to slingshot ahead of the pack on the last turn. Marlin tags Earnhardt’s back bumper removing the down force of air that keeps these cars sticking to the track at incredible speeds. The rear end of Dale’s car wiggles and he over corrects just a little too much and at unfathomable speeds his car takes a hard right turn straight into the wall.

It looks like every other standard run of the mill wreck at Daytona. As a result, a DEI car takes the checkered flag winning the Super Bowl of NASCAR.

My heart sinks when Dale Jr. grabs Michael Waltrip during a post race interview and what’s supposed to be one of the happiest moments of his career, of his life. I feel it immediately, I know something is wrong. There are no updates as to Dale’s condition, it must be bad, real bad.

When the news finally comes out that Earnhardt was killed that day, all my daydreams of bass fishing or whitetail deer hunting with one of my hero’s is dashed and crushed. My future interests in NASCAR are immediately quelled. I sit motionless and I don’t know how to react. I take off my Dale Earnhardt #3 watch and hang it on the wall in my office. I take down his flag outside and enshrine it next to his watch. The only way to describe what I felt was devastation.

I had been watching him race since I was a boy. The hard charging and fearless Dale Earnhardt was gone.

My love for NASCAR is not the same. It was tainted that day. I not only lost one of my hero’s, I felt like I had lost one of my best friends. To look up to a person for that long and have him ripped away in the blink of an eye is devastating to say the least. I know it sounds childish to some of the readers but, I assure you the emotion is real.

NASCAR lost its ambassador, its most popular driver, its face of the sport and its best of the best.

Today, I’m trying again to get into the racing mood. It just not the same but, its getting a little easier to take him not being there. No one will ever fill his shoes that’s for sure but, the sport will live and race on in his memory.

So, as I echo DW’s rally cry, “Boogity boogity boogity boys!”, I bow my head for a moment and remember the greatest driver of all time.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. we miss you!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Val Stabler February 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I have never read something more moving in my entire life…This was so well wrote, it brought chills to my skin! This is an amazing read, I have to share it with my brother!


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