Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

Dale Earnhardt

Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

Dale Earnhardt

Article excerpt

The death of Dale Earnhardt was a tragedy, as is the death of anyone, but it occurred in a huge surge of irony--a day that had been filled with great triumph and emotion, shown to millions of television viewers with amazing skill and a considerable amount of luck, suddenly was turned upside down. An earlier accident had been far more glamorous and created a great deal of destruction but was without major injury. The race was coming to an end and the Fox network, playing its hand like a poker master, had turned the microphone and the focus over to Darrell Waltrip, whose brother, Michael, was leading the race in the final run to the checkered flag.

Darrell, a former driver in his first year as the lead TV analyst, was almost overcome by emotion as he cheered his brother to victory while the other two announcers, Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds, stood by, probably cheering in silence. Right behind Waltrip was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Meanwhile, on the backstretch, workers tried to remove Earnhardt Sr: from his car. No one except those at the spot knew he already was dead. About two hours went by before NASCAR and the track confirmed the news, and Fox broadcast it, but it is hard to be critical about the delay. …

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