Overzealous Nascar Fans

Although this is the first Pit thread I’ve started, I am ready for the inevitable onslaught to come. But here goes anyway.

Regardless of what people in this podunk town think, life will go on without Dale Earnhardt. Of course his death was a tragedy - OF COURSE! It’s always a tragedy when someone dies unexpectedly, or too young, etc. HOWEVER…I live in Bristol, VA, right next door to Bristol, TN. Yes, folks, Bristol Motor Speedway, World’s Fastest Half-Mile. You would think the president had been shot. Flags are flying at half staff. It’s the biggest news story in the news here, and we are also dealing with the mysterious death (presumed by police at this point to be a murder) of a local college student. Both Bristols have a total population of approximately 50,000. I have seen SEVERAL custom paint jobs with something to the effect of “#3 - Dale Earnhardt, 1951-2001” on vehicles already, and it’s been 2 days! I talked to a local tattoo artist today who said he did 27 Earnhardt tattoos yesterday. People are taking this so seriously in this area that it’s frightening. They seem to have no grip on reality at all. My husband was turned away from the door by a longtime customer yesterday - she tearfully told him he “should have known better, in the middle of this catastrophe”.

They have erected a shrine at the racetrack. Even though he didn’t die here. Even though he didn’t live here. Even though. They are also holding some kind of wake tonight at the raceway. The local stores have imposed a limit of one piece of Earnhardt memorabilia per customer.

I actually heard a woman say on the noon news today that she had no idea how our community would ever make it out of this. Me either. They’re blocking up traffic all over town, and it’s impossible to get down the Parkway for all the loonies fighting over space to put their plastic weatherproof irises and daisies around the racetrack entrance.

As I said before, I am sorry for his family’s loss. HIS family. He wasn’t your father, Betty Lou and Jim Bob. A great race car driver and sportsman, but a stranger to you all the same. So I’ll thank you for not overreacting further in this vaguely creepy way.

Okay then.

That was well said.

I also feel terrible for his family, but MY LORD!!

I also dont understand why people killed themselves when Lennon was shot.

At least Earnhart died doing what he loved, its not as if he didnt know the risks.

Tatoos??? Sheesh.

Y’know, that’s two tunes right off the bat that I like…so I’m figuring, from that and the text of your rant, that I probably like you.
Nicely done, rational.
Still, if it’s your first pit thread, on such a subject, well (in my short experience…)…

Careful with that axe, you Jane…:wink:


When I saw the title of this thread, I must say I cringed, fearing a horribly insensitive take on a very sad situation. Instead I found a post that I completely agree with. If anything, I think its kind of tragic how sparse the lives of some people are in which the death of a race car driver leaves THAT kind of void.

Of course, it still is fairly recent to the death. I’d give people about a week to collect themselves.

Kinda reminds me about how people grieved more about Princess Di than Mother Theresa. Now tell me: which one was a greater loss.

On one hand, Mother Teresa was older, and it wasn’t a big shock. Also, Diana was really young and left two sons. But come on! Who contributed more to the world?

I applaud Jane. Then again, I had posted a similar thought, although slightly less violent :D, than Jane, at almost the same time in a different board. I just don’t get it.

It’s been at least an hour, and hardly a slaught on you. Wait, ::whisk whisk:: there’s a smallish one, that’s got it.
It’s the work day I’m worried about- that’s when all the renegade-nuerosurgeon victims come out. Well, then and later on at night. And after work seems to be a likely time too. And before work? whoa- don’t even get me started…

[sub]ahhh, shit, I’m feeling of her belly and I think LittleCat’s knocked up again.

Credit where credit is due.

Excellent rant.

I came in here expecting the bud of a promising flame war and leave with my hat off…


I think people like the melodrama. Oh sure, some of them really are moved and upset. I have read some really thoughtful and interesting posts and emails on his loss and its impact on racing, and those make sense to me. I was upset when I heard the news after the race. And hey, I can still get teary-eyed remembering the death of Jim Henson!

But the lengths that some people are going to (in your area, and others) just smacks to me of overacting. Is it because they lead such buttoned-up lives, they need the catharsis? Or do they just love the drama of the grieving? Do they think it makes them seem more noble or more emotionally deep if they react to this more strongly than the average person?

When my former roommate’s sister died suddenly and tragically, my friend K. (who had always loathed my roommate) suddenly was intensely moved by this. She wanted to be a part of what the rest of us were doing for him. She asked me if it would seem too weird if she invited him to her wedding that was two weeks away (he was never even on the B list for invitees, before). Shit like that. I had no idea where it all came from–best I could figure was, she wanted to be in on “the action.” In an even freakier incident, one of his sister’s classmates drove 2000 miles to be at the funeral. He made a huge deal out of how close they were, how devastated he was. He implied they were close to being engaged. But he was just a friend, and not a close one, either. It was weird/creepy. Again, I think he just craved being part of the drama of being bereaved. He wanted to get in on the victimness of being “the one left behind.”

Get a life!!

That’s really, really good. I never thought of it like that before. Or, rather I did, but wasn’t able to put it into words.
I guess it’s kinda what JS said, in a slightly different way.

I gotta think about this. It’s bigger than just the situations you’ve spoken of here.
(The collective)You might have jsut affected my life. Dead serious.

Thank you (so far, and tentatively)

I don’t mind the hysterical greiving so much.

But I saw on the news that a driver who had inadvertantly(sp) bumped Earnhardt just before his crash has recieved death threats!!! That is sooooooo wrong.

At first glance I thought the OP was indicating the death threats on the driver that first tapped #3 perhaps initiating the slide. That poor guy has received multiple threats at home and work.

Then I thought it was about the rule changes (which I know very little about) brought into play a few years ago to ‘make NASCAR more exciting’. More will be heard about these as the investigations continue.

Then I find that the OPer is bothered by the Graceland type pilgrimmages to every NASCAR track in the country :rolleyes:

To each his own.

I have to agree with the sentiment expressed by the OP, to some extent. I don’t begrudge Earnhardt fans their grief (hell, I’d be a huge-assed hypocrite if I did, considering I spent the first week or two of November 1999 bawling my eyes out over a dead race car driver that I still feel bad about), but I believe it’s been grossly overdone. Yes, it’s a tragedy: any loss of human life is a tragedy. Yes, you have a right to be sad: sure, you may not have known him, but with the community feeling of American auto racing, and NASCAR in particular, I fully understand how easy it is to feel as if you did. I also fully understand how hard it can be when a hero dies, the person you’d built up in your mind until he must be immortal, crashing back down to humanity. It’s sad. You have a right to mourn.

But the world is not coming to an end.

There will be a race next weekend. There will be cars on the track. There will be a thousand tiny highs and lows, just like always. The racing world is not coming to an end.

There will be school and work tomorrow. There will be people to talk to, things to do. There will be a thousand tiny highs and lows, just like always. The “real” world is not coming to an end, either.

One person’s death diminishes the entire human race by removing his experiences, his talents, his insight. One sports figure’s death diminishes the entire sport. One hero’s death diminishes his entire fan base. But it’s only one person. Our lives will go on. Sadder, perhaps, but there will be continuity.

The world won’t stop turning, the sun won’t stop burning. Have your grief, feel your pain, mourn if you must, but remember: you’re still alive.
And don’t make death threats to the driver who tapped him, for crying out loud. Ass.

I always like Dale.

I went to college right outside of Daytona, so I had a few years of Nascar exposure. I guess I always like Earnhardt because he was the bad guy of racing. He bumped EVERYONE all the time.

I don’t see this as a huge tragedy for the country for a whole bunch of reasons. The bottom line to me, is that he was famous for pushing the limits. He was famous for being agressive and infamous for being dangerous.

So what the hell do you expect?

Limits are limits because if you go over them you die. Dangerous activity mens there is a risk of DEATH.

He was single handedly holding back the rest of the pack so his son and his other car could fight it out for 1st and 2nd place. He was pushing the limits with other obsessively competitive drivers.

Shit happens. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

When my time comes, I hope I go down in as quick and painless a way, doing what I love best.

I’ve seen 'em come and I’ve seen 'em go, many of them violently, and, a year from now, those people who don’t say “Dale who?” will think you mean Dale Jr.

Great OP- I was stunned at the idea of a client of your husbands sending him away. Their business came to a standstill? Bizzare. I can totally understand the loss of someone who has contributed to your life in some way- whether you know them personally or not. For example this brought up fresh memories for me:

When I heard this news, I sat down where I was and cried like a baby. It was an awful shock, and I was really saddened. However, life went on.

I have no problems with anyone expressing their grief however they see appropriate, but the bandwagon sytle mass grieving is kinda creepy. I felt the same way when Princess Di died.


I never liked NASCAR…

Also, wasn’t he famous for refusing to go along with certain safety features?
Also, why was he hated by some-was he an asshole? I have to admit, I don’t know a lot about Dale Earnhardt.

I mean, shit, like I said, it’s like when JFK jr died. He was a nice guy, and a pretty cool person, but people went too wild.

I don’t exactly go along with the thread collective so far.


How nice of you to decide how people should feel, and how they should act.

Of course Earnhardt was a stranger to all those people on an obvious level. But on another level, they enjoyed watching him do his thing for 15 or 20 years. They got to know and like his personality and his driving style. On some level, they felt a connection to the guy. So they were hurt by his sudden and tragic demise.

That you don’t or refuse to understand this is to your discredit, not their’s.

Can some people be overly maudlin in times like this? Yeah. I wouldn’t say, however, that a diehard Earnhardt fan who wants to go to the track where he or she enjoyed watching their hero perform, to add to a memorial and hang out with like-minded, grieving people, is being way out there.



I think some of you are underestimating how shocking and grief-inducing it can be to some people when a regular part of their lives - a part from which they derived a lot of enjoyment - is suddenly and tragically gone.

If you’ve ever been around a raceway or a group of NASCAR enthusiasts, you would know that Earnhardt fans are – were – among the most fervent.

Would basketball fans react any differently if Kobe Bryant was killed by a hard foul?

Would football fans react differently if Peyton Manning was killed by a hard sack?

How is anything anyone is doing not in compliance with this thought?

and dropzone?

More thorough bullshit has never been uttered on this message board. You are either an idiot, or don’t know as much about racing as you claim.

Neither. Just embittered by the carnage I’ve seen in thirty-seven years of following motorsports and the short collective memory of the American public.

Now, THAT is hard to believe! Are you including the entire thread devoted to how stupid you are, because, if you are, then that is as good as an admission that they are right? :wink:

Hey … I didn’t think about that. You BASTARD!

But I must strenuously disagree that Earnhardt’s death will be like that of other race drivers who met their demise on the track.

With the possible exception of Richard Petty, he is the best driver and hugest star the sport has ever had.

Indeed, where and how he died, last lap of the Daytona 500, holding off the pack so his son and great friend and new employee could go for the win, has (or at least will) catapault him into legend status.

It would be like a quarterback dying after throwing the pass for the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. They don’t forget that the following year.