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
"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
"I was waving at the crowd."
-- Earnhardt, on crossing the finish line to win the Talladega 500 on July 29, 1984
"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
"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
"We were lucky, but a lot of times you make your own luck."
-- Earnhardt, on his 1980 Cup championshipp
"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
"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
"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
"You can't let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones."
-- Earnhardt, on bad times