The JFK assassination, the Challenger shuttle explosion and 9/11 have all been events in American history where the question always arises, "Where were you?" Stories have been shared countless times of where people were at the exact moment these events happened.
This weekend marks the 10 year anniversary of the death of Dale Earnhardt. 10 years later and very few people have been able to cope with the loss of Nascar's biggest driver. For this writer, it was as though I lost a family member. And yes, I remember exactly where I was when I found out about the death of a legend.
10 Years ago, I was 15 years old getting ready to finish up my 8th grade year. Being a Dale Jarrett fan, I was hopeful to see if DJ would go back to back and win his 4th Daytona 500. I was also curious to see if "The Intimidator" would win his second 500. Earnhardt had made a comeback and many were saying he could contend for an 8th Winston Cup Title.
But as the race wore on and Dale Jarrett was involved in a wreck I turned off the TV and went to play basketball at my church. While playing ball, one of my friends walked in and told me that Michael Waltrip had won his first race. My first reaction was to ask him how Dale Earnhardt did, as he was a huge fan. "Oh man you wouldn't believe it, he crashed going into turn 4 on the final lap," he said as we continued to play.
In my mind Earnhardt probably gave a great post race interview because he wrecked, and then gloated about his driver winning his first race at Daytona. As soon as I got home that evening I turned on ESPN 2 to watch RPM 2Nite to see the highlights and what Earnhardt would say. What happened next forever changed my life as a Nascar fan.
NHRA drag racing was wrapping up and Marty Reid concluded with a melancholy ending stating, "Coming up next on RPM 2nite, details on the tragic death of The Intimidator Dale Earnhardt."
My first reaction was shock, then anger. How could Dale Earnhardt die, he's the Intimidator. I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach. Even though I wasn't a fan of Earnhardt, I knew what he meant to the sport of Nascar.
10 Years have passed and the void left by Dale Earnhardt is still over the Nascar Community. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is right, we should move on. But when someone impacted so many lives as Dale Earnhardt, it is hard.
10 years.....Has it really been that long? Where were you when Nascar lost its hero? Where were you when a son lost his father? Where were you when you lost your favorite driver?