Jeff Gilder has seen the light. He has seen it in the eyes of men who cut their racing teeth on the half-mile of dirt that was Columbia Speedway.
Driving to the N.C. Motor Speedway in Rockingham on a chilly Sunday morning in March, I saw the rising sun filtered through the smoke from campfires as a fan village stirred to life. I rolled down the window and smelled the bacon frying. Had I stopped, I have no doubt I could have shared breakfast with almost anybody I spoke to.
"Thank you." Of all the words spoken and sung during a memorial service for Dale Earnhardt on Thursday, those were the most powerful.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It was always right there in his eyes. Sometimes Dale Earnhardt didn't say much. But his eyes never stopped talking.
You hear the name and picture a wild man.
Adam Petty's car rolled to a stop in the garage at Lowe's Motor Speedway Tuesday afternoon.
There were times, Dale Earnhardt Jr. admits, when he thought it might all come crashing down.
Rick Hendrick's corner office in a new building at his NASCAR teams' complex opens into a conference room connected to another office. It was going to be his son Ricky's.
Dale Earnhardt's iconic black No. 3 Chevrolet careened up the 31-degree banking into a concrete wall in Turn 4 during the 2001 Daytona 500. And five years later, NASCAR still feels the impact.
I do not consider myself a race fan. To be a fan, you have to be willing to put up with hardships like high ticket prices, ridiculous hotel rates and obscene concession prices to follow the sport. Unless and until I do that, I am not worthy of that title.
Weathered like a favorite leather jacket, crinkled with lines of experience but resilient to the ravages of age, Richard Petty still stands tall.
It's Friday, May 2, 2003. Jerry Nadeau starts practice for a NASCAR race at Richmond International Raceway, climbing into a new No. 01 Pontiac his team has built for him to drive in the Pontiac 400.
My cellular phone rang just before 7 p.m. Monday. Steve Hummer, a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said hello. I knew something was wrong. Hummer wouldn't call just to chat. I am beginning to hate that cell phone.
Race fans want to be in the middle of everything. And, face it, we can't always be. But we could count on David Poole being there.
When he took up a cause, it was because he knew in his heart he was on the right side. And you knew he believed in it, with a passion.
Many in racing considered David Poole to be family. Here's what some of them are saying.
Tom Sorensen: David Poole was loud, opinionated, hilarious, gutsy, and smarter than you are, and I don't care who you are.