Remembering the Legacy of Dale Earnhardt

In Memory of Dale Earnhardt
"A True American Hero"

This man was known to most as just a race car driver. The philanthropic mammoth that needs recognition is the late great Dale Earnhardt. As you will remember the week of February 19th-25th was the first of our grieving and pain in 2001.
That was when the seven- time Winston Cup Champion was called home, on the last lap of the Daytona 500.


Dale had taken a driver that had never won a race and groomed him in the off season. The driver was someone Dale had grown close to, Michael Waltrip. “Dreaming and Tenacious Persistence = Success”. Dale lived by positive mental attitude. The driver that had never won was one lap away from winning the biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500. In first was Michael, Dale Jr. second and Dale third. The teams had set up a sweep for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Then it happened, on the last lap coming out of turn 4, Dale was hit from the rear his car spun hitting the wall head-on. It did not look bad at first, but the Intimidator that had won 76 races would not win another NASCAR race!


As Michael pulled into Victory lane and Dale Jr. close behind, a silent hush fell over the raceway. Even in death the legacy of winning is Dale Earnhardt. This is the reason those who knew Dale thought him to be the magnifico of accomplishment.


After his love for God Dale’s family came first, racing, and his fans a close second. Dale had been a tribune (defender of public rights) to Make a Wish children, and made the wish of young fans come true. The only time Dale had won the Daytona 500, he did so with a penny and a Make a Wish prophets’ word to a young girl he would win. The penny was glued to the dash of the #3 Chevrolet as soon as Dale had returned to the garage area. 500 miles later, Dale on his 20th try, had won the Daytona 500.


Dale would sign autographs for hours on end, until everyone was signed. Dale thought it to be sacrilegious to charge a fan that may have driven hundreds of miles and stood in a 2 – 5 hour line. If he started to run out of time he would never try to back out a side door and would always apologize to his fans on his way out.


One of those times Dale had signed for hours and when he had to leave, on his way out he saw a woman about 9 months along, the champ asked why she did not come on up to the front, she replied “It’s for my husband it’s his birthday and he wanted your autograph” as she handed him a scrap of paper. Dale signed it and in the same moment took a winners’ cap off his head, signed it, gave it to the woman saying “NOW THAT’S A GIFT”. His fans clapped and cheered!


Another time, one of ESPN’s broadcast team had to cover a championship football game, Dale knew his wife was due to have a baby anytime, Dale sent two of his men in a 4x4 to the mountain community where they lived so if she needed to go to the hospital she could have any help she needed.


Dale Earnhardt was the definition of a philanthropist. As he drove by a church he passed often, he had noticed over the winter the parking lot had more mud than asphalt. Dale saw the minister outside and stopped to ask how much it would cost to repave the lot; he replied “$8,000.00 to $10,000.00”. The Intimidator walked to his truck took out his check book and wrote a check for $10,000.00 handed to the minister and said “now if you tell anybody who paid for it I’ll come back and doze it up”!


This is to acknowledge just a few remarkable acts of this distinguished majordomo of Philanthropy.


The boy raised in Kannapolis, N.C. that had dropped out of school in the 8th grade, ended up being as proud of his High School Diploma that it sat in the same trophy case with 7 Winston Cup Championships’. He owned car dealerships and a baseball team just to name some of this self made man’s wealth.


Dale could negotiate with Fortune 500 companies in the morning and by the afternoon be helping guys at the shop build a new car.


Dale was proud to be an American, who loved the United States and being a son of the south. Dale respected the President and leaders of these United States (what a concept) and the troops that are always willing to give their lives for this country. Dale was repulsed by mediocrity, in a day of athletes being both malevolent and callous.


Dale Earnhardt, concerned about NASCAR being a mostly white sport, started programs in the inner cities so minorities might see what NASCAR is about. Other sports such as football, basketball, hockey and baseball look the other way and allow players to fill the police blotters not thinking of those young fans that look at their every move and would be close behind.


Dale would always try to help everyone embrace the philosophy of Dreaming and Tenacious Persistence = Success. America needs heroes to recognize and help pass along the winning ways of life.


To congressmen, firemen, policemen, servicemen, Fortune 500 CEO’s and all Americans, help lead us to victory or else get out of the way of true leaders.


Dale Earnhardt is the antidote to mediocrity and fictitious, a tribune and lenient of leadership to victory of the Citizenry.


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