I cannot take credit for these poems. They were all written by true Dale Earnhardt fans like myself. Read them, enjoy them, I hope they comfort you.
The Heaven 500
Was just getting started,
An all-star race,
For the racing departed.
Heroes of the track,
With nerves of steel,
And sitting on the pole,
A cat named Neil.
Adam Petty was there,
With his beautiful smile,
Kenny Irwin determined,
To finish in style.
Lee Petty was glowing,
With that grandfather pride,
With Davey and Clifford,
Both in a new ride.
Floated in on a cloud,
While Tony Roper
Waved to the heavenly crowd.
Morrosso and Nemecheck,
Then Tim Richmond appeared,
Kulwicki strapped in
While the racing fans cheered.
The honorary starter,
For this heavenly race,
Ralph Earnhardt was chosen
With a tear on his face.
But the red flag flew;
Just before it had begun,
And every eye was wide open
Looking to the sun.
A last minute entry
Was the cause of delay,
while the fans were instructed
To kneel down and pray.
The heavens turned black,
And the clouds turned dark,
The lightning was brilliant,
The thunder did bark.
Then out of the rumble,
For all there to see,
The clouds formed
A black number three.
The heavenly fans
Then erupted with pride,
And welcomed this star
That had recently died.
With a bolt of lightning
Dale Earnhardt arrived,
As he stood before JESUS,
His spirit revived.
JESUS hugged his precious child,
Then revealed his perfect plan,
"I brought you home to let you know
That I'm your biggest fan!"
The Intimidator was needed
For this heavenly race,
"Leaving all your earthly fans
With honor and grace."
Ralph Earnhardt then stepped forward;
Embracing his son,
Then whispered in Dale's ear,
"Let's go have some fun."
As Ralph stood proud
The green flag flew,
The crowd went wild
And tensions grew.
And just like salvation
The admission was free,
As every eye focused
On the black number three.
When the checkered flag dropped,
No dry eyes remained;
It was a photo finish,
As JESUS explained.
He said,"There are no losers
On this heavenly track,
This is a welcome home party
For the Man In Black!"
A fine Daytona afternoon, the season just begun.
My boys were running one and two, and I was having fun.
I probably could have won the thing, but something held me back.
I was busy watching Dale and Mike -- and holding off the pack.
I was looking toward the front and not really to the rear.
Something tapped me on my bumper, but still I had no fear.
I thought it might be Sterling - I knew he was nearby.
When Sterling smells the checkered flag, I'll tell you, he ain't shy.
I slipped a bit. I turned the wheel. I sensed something very odd.
It wasn't Sterling's tap I'd felt. It was the tap of God.
"Not now," I said. "I'm racing hard. There's work still here to do."
"You're time is up," He whispered low, "So say a quick adieu."
I wasn't really ready, but I didn't have a choice.
He'd tapped me on the bumper and I'd heard His ha! llowed voice.
So I did as He instructed. I just packed it in and left.
I guess it can't be helped that I left some of you bereft.
Did you see those birds upon the wall as they scattered in the breeze?
Will it make it any easier to know that them was me?
There was also Davey, Dad and Neil and some other guys I've known.
And they all came to Daytona just to escort me on home.
Hey - congratulations, Mikey! You made a worthy run.
I wish you many, many more. You're wins have just begun.
All that fun you had in Victory Lane, I was proud as proud can be.
Did you see a seagull flying low? Yeah, Mikey, that was me.
So, friends and fans and family, don't mourn me for too long.
Get on with life - take care of things - be brave and proud and strong
I'll surely miss you every one. About that I will not lie.
But as long as you remember me - I didn't really die.
You lit up the racing world
By Susan Bruce, Travelers Rest, SC
You lit up the racing world like a fireworks display,
how were we to know you'd be taken away.
You gave the world of racing everything that you had,
and in that number 3 car you made you final stand.
You sacrificed it all for your son and a dear friend,
we were all in shock when we found out it was the end.
We saw the accident that put you into the wall,
but never did we think that it would be the end of it all.
The end of a long and bright and shining, magnificent career.
You were infamous for nudging and pushing your way from the rear.
How do I explain to my six-year-old son,
that his racing idol is dead and gone.
He cried when we told him that you had passed,
doing what your dad had taught you to love best.
He ask could he go to sleep and dream about you,
your smallest, yet biggest fan is grieving for you.
He asked if he would see you in Heaven someday,
we told him yes, that we thought you'd found your way.
He has just brought me your son's AC/Delco die-cast number 3 car,
and ask me to put it away so he could give it to you when he gets where you are.
He said he thought you'd like it because it was your son's.
He has wrapped it up himself, he is such a sensitive one.
He wrapped it in funny papers, along with some other things,
A truck that says Goodwrench and a few Winston Cup Scenes.
I know that your family will be eternally blue.
But the Bruce household is really grieving too.
Even though we've only watched you on T.V.
We loved you and hope that will be eternally happy.
Please remember to glance at those pearly gates every once in a while.
You may see someone coming carrying a box, with a great big smile.
Hopefully, I will already be there to introduce you,
To my baby boy Alex, who idolized you.
The Day The Legend Died
By Rebecca Klar, Dayton, Ohio
They called him the intimidator, the man in the black number three
People would come from all over, it was him they wanted to see
Each and every Sunday they'd watch him on the track
Dedication and admiration for this driver no one ever lacked
On that fateful day, close to the final turn
Something happened that caused great concern
Even though no one thought that it was that bad
Later we heard that Junior had lost his dad
The fans were heartbroken they couldn't believe it was true
Not just family shed tears even people he never knew
Everyone will remember Daytona 500 of 2001
That's the day the life of a legend was over and done.
MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY
By Barb Kerr
The greatest man I never met, has run his final race
The pain I feel is showing, in the tears upon my face
With the love of a father, and that of a friend
He protected Mike and Junior, right to the end
In that special ,unselfish move, for all the world to see
He showed why we love that BLACK#3
We have lost the heart of racing, it will never be the same
But he was far more than just a racing name
His skill in driving was beyond compare
But it was the man himself that made me care
Those steel blue eyes, that sly dawg grin
The way he cared , all part of him
The loving husband,the faithful friend
The proud father, memories that will never end
He lived for Sundays,the race to win
To beat the odds, was life to him
To hear those engines roar to life
Was second only to God and his wife
Strapped into the number 3, after Teresa's kiss
Calm, relaxed, ready to race.Nothing was amiss
As he made that final turn, in the number 3
I wonder if it was more than air, the MAN IN BLACK could see
Did he see his daddy, and Neil Bonnet standing there
And all of heaven angels, when all we saw was air
I think that God was standing there to meet the elder E
The one that he's been waiting for to drive Heaven's #3
I do not know how long this ache, will tear apart my heart
It may never happen, it may never start
No one can replace him, in our hearts or on the track
Rest in peace my hero, I'll always love the Man in Black
The Final Lap
April 29, 1951---February 18. 2001
By Charlotte Anselmo
A thrill was in the air that day
As the number three flashed past
Shouts and cheers rose on the wind
As his car sped by so fast.
The race had been so thrilling
The finish line just ahead
The thought did not occur to us
We'd see tragedy instead.
The final lap came all to soon
For a hero we held dear
Little did we know that day
That the end for him was near.
Our hearts are filled with sadness
Our hero had to leave
To race across the Heavens now
While we are left to grieve.
The gates of Heaven opened
His final trophy gleaming bright
He slowly gunned his engine
As he drove into the light
~An open letter to the Fans from Teresa Earnhardt~
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
For his fans, there simply was no one 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
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 his fan. Remember
the man who loved life.
He was the happiest person I know, and that can comfort us all.
Gratefully, Teresa Earnhardt
Dale Jr. Diary: Memories of Dad
By Dale Earnhardt Jr., Special to Turner Sports Interactive
March 20, 2001
4:23 PM EST (2123 GMT)
It's time again for my monthly column. I thought I would
share with you a few of my favorite memories I have of my
father. Since his death, these are the memories that help
me through the hard times.
Learning How to Ski
At 6 years old, I float in the murky water of Lake Norman
with one ski on each foot.
Each ski seems to weigh 100 pounds, each tight like a
glove to my feet. My father holds me upright as I hang
onto the ski rope, which is tied to the hitch of a pickup
parked on the boat ramp about 20 yards away.
This makeshift learning tool seems crude, but I felt
perfectly safe with my father's idea.
Once my father gave the signal, the driver of the
truck would floor the gas, pulling me out of the
water and up on my skis. This probably wasn't common
practice around the lake for most beginners, but at
such a young age, I couldn't pass it up to prove my
After about six attempts I had it down flat -- literally.
On the last attempt I was dragged up on the boat ramp,
leaving me with quite a strawberry on the backside.
I have this in its entirety on film somewhere. When
I take my son to the lake for skiing,
I will be driving the truck.
Snow, Trucks, and More Snow
About that same age, I got the chance to do some real
male bonding with my father and his friends.
Sometime that winter, I was invited to ride along with
the guys in their 4x4 pickup in the dead of night.
The ground was covered in snow -- the roads had not
This was a man's road trip. Having a 7-year-old along
usually meant less fun and hell raisin' for the fellas.
I took this in mind and jumped in the middle of the
bench seat and kept my mouth shut. If my memory
serves me correct, my father's co-pilot this night
was NASCAR's own Gary Nelson.
What a sight it was to see some 20 pickups fishtailing
down the windy back roads of Mooresville. I can only
imagine since I couldn't see over the dash just yet.
Most of what I remember about that night is just being
with my father. Although it seemed as the truck was out
of control, he knew exactly what he was doing. I
never experienced that same feeling again until
joining him on the racetrack in Japan for our
first race together.
Get Your Head On Straight
While practicing for one of my first Busch Series
races at Charlotte, I lost control and ended our
A few friends and I went directly back to my doublewide
trailer and sat in disbelief as to what had happened.
As I sat pondering the future of my racing career, the
back door flung open, and in walked what seemed to be
a 10-foot-tall tall Dale Earnhardt.
The look on his face wasn't pleasant. As my buddies
scrambled to get out the front door he asked me to
join him on the back porch.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. spends some time with teammates
Steve Park (left) and Michael Waltrip (right).
We spent more than an hour talking about his perils
in the early days of his career and how I should be
looking forward to my next opportunity to race.
In that conversation somewhere, I was assured of his
love for me, and the hope he maintained for me to
be successful in whatever I did. From that day on,
I never worried about my mistakes, only looking forward
to the chance to redeem them.
Our Final Stance
My father joined me in victory lane for many of my wins
in the Busch and Winston Cup Series.
The one that stands out most clearly is the win in Charlotte
at The Winston. My first Busch win and my first Cup win
were enjoyable with him as well, but The Winston had a
different feel while standing there with him on stage with
The best race I saw him run was at that same event in 1987.
For some reason, I felt I had equaled that performance.
As if to say "look dad, the same race, the same excitement,
the same result!"
I could see in his face that night he agreed. Of all the
time I have spent with my father, this moment is the most
valuable to me. I will never forget his smile, his
expression, or anything else about those moments with
him on that stage that night.
My dad and I, with that elusive Winston trophy there in
front of us. It belonged to him as much as it did me that night.
Till next month,
Dale Earnhardt: Through the eyes of his son
By Dale Earnhardt Jr., Special to Turner Sports Interactive
February 21, 2001
(The following column originally was published Oct. 18, 2000.)
I know a man whose hands are so callused that gloves aren't
necessary. Once, while cutting down a tree, he cut the back
of his hand to the bone with a chainsaw. He didn't even
stop to look until the job was done.
I've seen him get thrown from a tractor. The tractor, as
large as a small home, was flipped by the trunk of a
stubborn oak tree. His first thought was not fear, but
how quickly he could get the tractor back on its tracks
to complete the task. He has suffered broken bones and
never had one complaint. Not to anyone, not even to himself.
This man could lead the world's finest army. He has wisdom
that knows no bounds. No fire could burn his character, no
stone could break it. He maintains a private existence.
One that shelters his most coveted thoughts from the world.
His upbringing was no controlled creation. His hard-working
family was like many from that era. He gained his knowledge
in hard dirt and second-hand tools, from his toys as a child
to the trucks he drove in his 20s. From that natural
upbringing, he has an incredible sense of good and bad.
He sees it before it sees him, in people, in anything
imaginable. Where did he learn this? How does he know
so many things?
I've seen this man create many things. With no blueprints,
he has carved and produced wonders upon wonders. His resume
shows he has created major companies. He has hammered out
deal upon deal -- always being as fair as God would have
it. He has taken land with thick shrub and deep valleys
and molded them into a frontier fit for heaven. He has
built homes that kings couldn't fathom.
Solving problems is as easy as breathing for him. They are
thrown his way like the morning paper. People surround him
daily, wanting solutions. He hands them out with pride and
passion. Each solution is a battle won. He calculates his
every action, demanding the same from everyone else. He is
honest in letting you know your end of the bargain.
His friendship is the greatest gift you could ever obtain.
Out of all his attributes, it is the most impressive. He
trusts only a few with this gift. If you ever break that
trust - it is over. He accepts few apologies. Many have
crossed him and they leave with only regret for their
actions. In every result, he stands as an example of what
hard work and dedication will achieve. Even his enemies
I have had the pleasure of joining him on the battlefield.
I have experienced his intimidating wrath. That may sound
strong, but I know what I am talking about. He roams like
a lion, king of his jungle. His jungle is his and his
alone. Every step he takes has purpose. Every walk has reason.
He praises God, loves his family, enjoys his friends.
I wonder what his future holds. He has so much to be
proud of. To this point, he's only barely satisfied.
His eyes see much more than my imagination could produce.
He is Dale Earnhardt. Dad, the world's finest army awaits.