Friday, February 18, 2011

Remembering Dale Earnhardt

This Sunday is the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. I can hear the cars on the track from my house. Which I don't mind cause it's the sound of money coming into our area.

10 years ago, Dale Earnhardt died in a crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500. I was the Senior Manager of Publicity for Daytona International Speedway and ran all the press rooms at that time. Although I'd worked at the Speedway for 4 years, I had not had much interaction with Earnhardt before that year. Getting an audience with him was akin to getting an audience with the King of NASCAR. But that particular year I had spent quite a bit of time with him because the track had named a grandstand after him and he was running in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the first time that year (that's me with my back to the camera with Dale and a TV crew in the photo above.)  I won't say he "knew" me because of this. Basically he just recognized me and because he couldn't remember my name he just called me "girly."

I enjoyed working with him that year because he tried to make me feel comfortable when he knew I was obviously nervous being around him. They didn't call him The Intimidator for nothing. It was a privilege working with him and I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding (and enjoyable) moments in my career.

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