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Ten Years After Losing Dale Earnhardt

Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport

We’re approaching the ten year anniversary of the death of Dale Earnhardt and tributes are starting to appear. For any fan of motorsports it was truly the darkest day in racing. When then NASCAR president Mike Helton made the announcement, he kept it very simply to the phrase “we lost Dale Earnhardt” and that was a phrase echoed in disbelief by thousands of Americans that day. Time and Newsweek both had him on the cover of their magazines and the discussion soon turned to the quality and safety of his seat belt restraints. Most studies have shown that a number of factors contributed to his death and that it wasn’t solely because of any function or malfunction of his restraints.

When the news became officially announced and came over the news wire, I was working a weekend shift at a classic rock station and had the responsibility of announcing it on air that Dale Earnhardt had passed away. It was the first breaking news story that I had to deal with in my carrer and people immediately started calling the station expressing disbelief and threatening me over what they assumed was a terrible joke. Sadly it wasn’t.

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard that we’d lost Dale?

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