It was 4 years today that the racing world lost a hero. The worst I think I've ever heard "In the last lap of the Daytona 500...we've lost Dale Earnhardt." - Mike Helton(2.18.01). I was acutally in Florida when he got killed and was able to be around all that mourning. I was on the track 4 days after Big E died...all the flags at half staff...such a sad sight to see!! The Intimidator was intimiadated at his track...the track that gave him so much...had also taken it all way. On the way home from Florida we stopped at DEI. It was amazing to see all the support and fans gathered outside just mourning the loss of Dale. The following is something Dale Jr wrote EXACTLY 4 months before Dale Sr died:
I Know A Man - by Dale Earnhardt Jr
I know a man whose hands are so callused that gloves aren't necessary. Once, while cutting down a tree, he cut the back of his hand to the bone with a chainsaw. He didn't even stop to look until the job was done.
I've seen him get thrown from a tractor. The tractor, as large as a small home, was flipped by the trunk of a stubborn oak tree. His first thought was not fear, but how quickly he could get the tractor back on its tracks to complete the task. He has suffered broken bones and never had one complaint. Not to anyone, not even to himself.
This man could lead the world's finest army. He has wisdom that knows no bounds. No fire could burn his character, no stone could break it. He maintains a private existence. One that shelters his most coveted thoughts from the world.
His upbringing was no controlled creation. His hard-working family was like many from that era. He gained his knowledge in hard dirt and second-hand tools, from his toys as a child to the trucks he drove in his 20s. From that natural upbringing, he has an incredible sense of good and bad. He sees it before it sees him, in people, in anything imaginable. Where did he learn this? How does he know so many things?
I've seen this man create many things. With no blueprints, he has carved and produced wonders upon wonders. His resume shows he has created major companies. He has hammered out deal upon deal — always being as fair as God would have it. He has taken land with thick shrub and deep valleys and molded them into a frontier fit for heaven. He has built homes that kings couldn't fathom.
Solving problems is as easy as breathing for him. They are thrown his way like the morning paper. People surround him daily, wanting solutions. He hands them out with pride and passion. Each solution is a battle won. He calculates his every action, demanding the same from everyone else. He is honest in letting you know your end of the bargain.
His friendship is the greatest gift you could ever obtain. Out of all his attributes, it is the most impressive. He trusts only a few with this gift. If you ever break that trust — it is over. He accepts few apologies. Many have crossed him and they leave with only regret for their actions. In every result, he stands as an example of what hard work and dedication will achieve. Even his enemies know this.
I have had the pleasure of joining him on the battlefield. I have experienced his intimidating wrath. That may sound strong, but I know what I am talking about. He roams like a lion, king of his jungle. His jungle is his and his alone. Every step he takes has purpose. Every walk has reason.
He praises God, loves his family, enjoys his friends.
I wonder what his future holds. He has so much to be proud of. To this point, he's only barely satisfied. His eyes see much more than my imagination could produce. He is Dale Earnhardt. Dad, the world's finest army awaits.