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.