Quotes of Dale Earnhardt

Behind the reflective sunglasses, under the GM Goodwrench black and beyond the Intimidator nickname, Dale Earnhardt certainly had personality.

It never glowed brighter than when he spoke to the media, providing the tell-it-like-it-is responses, whether it was about restrictor-plate racing, his ability behind the wheel or celebrating a career milestone.

Not only will many of Earnhardt's words be forever remembered, but certain words spoken about him will be cemented on NASCAR's timeline. And if Earnhardt had it his way, we'd only remember the high points.

"I started racing full time, and that's when I started starving to death."

-- Earnhardt, on the beginning of his raciing career
Working full time in garages and a textile mill during the day and tinkering with his car at night, Earnhardt shifted his priorities in the mid-1970s and placed racing at the top of his list. It's been said that he borrowed money to race with the hopes of paying back his loans after cashing his race earnings.

"I ran that sucker as hard as I could. I ran it until its tongue was wagging."

-- Earnhardt, on finishing second to Harryy Gant in a 1982 Busch Series race
Racing in a 300-miler at Charlotte on May 29, 1982, Earnhardt finished 2.75 seconds behind race-winner Harry Gant.

"I was waving at the crowd."

-- Earnhardt, on crossing the finish line to win the Talladega 500 on July 29, 1984
Earnhardt was cruising around the final turn in his No. 3 Wrangler Chevy, well ahead of second-place driver Buddy Baker. He was so comfortable with his lead that he began saluting his fans in the grandstands. It was Earnhardt's 10th career win and first of the season.

"If you're not a race driver, stay the hell home. Don't come out here and grumble about going too fast."

-- Earnhardt, on drivers complaining aboutt the speeds of race cars
Earnhardt wasn't the biggest fan of restrictor-plate racing at Talladega and Daytona, but considering his 13 Cup victories at the two monsters, it didn't bother him, either.

"The years of disappointment, the close calls -- all the chapters have been written. Now the 20th chapter is in. To win this race is something you can't, I mean, you really can't put into words. You can talk about it all day, but you can't put into words the feelings you have inside. It's everything you've ever worked hard to do, and you've finally accomplished it. It's just pretty damn impressive, especially with everything we've done here in the past and all the shortcomings we've had in this race."

-- Earnhardt, following his 1998 victory iin the Daytona 500
When Earnhardt pulled into Victory Lane on Feb. 15, 1988, he conquered the final mountain of his career. Five times he could smell victory at the prestigious race only to come up short because of various ailments. But after beating Bobby Labonte to the caution flag with one lap to go, Earnhardt sealed the win and got the monkey off his back -- he literally tossed away a stuffed monkey that he carried in his car during the race.

"We were lucky, but a lot of times you make your own luck."

-- Earnhardt, on his 1980 Cup championshipp
In just his second season -- the first in which he ran the entire schedule -- Earnhardt was crowned champion. He had five victories, 19 top-fives and 24 top-10s on the year. Just three times did he finish outside the top 20.

"Dale Earnhardt was the greatest race car driver that ever lived. He could do things with a race car that no one else could. He had a tremendous impact on NASCAR racing. He's done so much to help the sport get where it is today. He took the sport to new places. It's going to be hard for anyone else to take it there. He leaves a big, big void here that will be very hard to fill."

-- Former driver and broadcaster Ned Jarreett, following Earnhardt's death
Earnhardt was the one modern name anyone associated with NASCAR during the 1990s and into the new millennium. His stamp became apparent in regards to sponsorship and owner relationships, merchandise sales and fan identity within the sport.

"I'm a big fan of Richard Petty. If I win seven, it wouldn't matter because he's still the king. He's way up there on a throne by himself, but it does put us in an elite class, right there with the king."

-- Earnhardt, following his fourth Cup chaampionship in 1990
Earnhardt went on to win seven championships, joining Petty on the throne. His fifth title came the following season, and he won consecutive trophies for the third time in his career in 1993 and 1994.

"Undoubtedly this is one of the toughest announcements I've personally had to make. After the accident in Turn 4 at the end of the Daytona 500, we've lost Dale Earnhardt."

-- NASCAR president Mike Helton, followingg the 2001 Daytona 500
Helton addressed media at approximately 7 p.m. ET after the Daytona 500, confirming that Earnhardt had died from injuries suffered in a final-turn accident.

"You can't let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones."

-- Earnhardt, on bad times
Earnhardt had plenty of good ones, with 76 victories (sixth-most), including one every year from 1982 to 1996. And no bad moment would have brought him down from the high of his Daytona 500 victory.