I can never fully express my immense gratitude for the overwhelming support we have received. It would be easy at this time to get lost in the sadness of losing a loving husband, father and grandfather. However, I and our family, as well as everyone at Dale Earnhardt Inc., have chosen to take this time to reflect not on the sadness we feel today, but on the joy Dale Earnhardt the man brought to us and Dale Earnhardt the driver brought to so many fans for so many years. It is a joy that will carry us through the sadness and grief of this day and many days to come.
For our children, Kerry, Kelley, Dale Jr. and Taylor, he was a father whose pride in his children was greater than even his strongest desire as a competitor.
For his mother, Martha, he was a son who always wanted to make sure she had what she needed.
For his brothers and sisters, he was always an influential part of their lives.
For his employees, he could be both demanding and praising and had the ability to create the same desire to win in the crews and drivers that he had in himself. He was very proud of what the teams at Dale Earnhardt Inc. had been able to do in a very short period of time and the people who helped it happen and supported its acceleration. For his fans, there simple was noone more sensational and with that I agree.
There were two sides to Dale Earnhardt, and I am so blessed to have known both for the qualities they carried.
The public Dale Earnhardt wanted to be the best. The competitive drive that burned inside of him gave him the passion to win. If he was racing, he wanted to win the most races and championships. If he was fishing, he wanted to catch the most fish.
The private Dale Earnhardt, the husband and father and son and brother, wanted to be the best as well. He struggled with that at times. Emotions didn't come as easy to this man who stirred so much emotion in other people. But as his children grew and began making decisions of their own, he saw that most of the time, they made the decision by asking themselves, "What would dad do?"
I will ask myself that in the coming days and weeks and for a long time after that, I'm sure. "What would Dale do?" I think what Dale would do, and what Dale would want us to do, is remember the joy that his life brought. Remember the things about him that made you happy that you were is fan. Remember the man who loved life.
He was the happiest person I know, and that can comfort all of us.Gratefully,