Tuesday, February 18, 2014
It Was A Dark Day
Thirteen years ago today NASCAR President Mike Helton stood before a group of anxious racing journalists and fans watching the sports channels and said: "We've lost Dale Earnhardt."
Things have changed since that day. Drivers tend to walk away from crashes similar to the one that killed Dale because of the HANS device and other major safety improvements in the car and at the tracks. There are not as many NASCAR fans at the tracks nor watching the races on television, either. While many argue that is due to a bad economy and other reasons, I strongly suspect that many casual fans were turned off when the sport's major hero was killed.
But that all came later and has been a steady evolution that has not finished. It was just a shockingly sad day to be a NASCAR fan and in particular if you were an Earnhardt fan, which clearly I was and still am.