“I had never even heard of Dale Earnhardt until he crashed into eternity, but now here I am writing a column about him” (King, 64). This reaction, recorded by Florence King in National Review, seems to be a common one since Earnhardt’s death in the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt was a driver in the Winston Cup circuit for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). Despite the fact that he is arguably the most popular NASCAR driver, many people did not know who he was until he died. It is sad to realize that sometimes it takes death to become recognized. However, Dale is not the only NASCAR driver who is becoming known from his death. In a span of nine months, Tony Roper, Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, and Earnhardt himself all have died on three different racetracks (Hinton, 133). NASCAR is focusing on the pressing issue of how to make racing as safe as possible, while remaining competitive. Some of this deals with learning from these deaths. All sports have risks. Unfortunately, sometimes we learn most from our mistakes. NASCAR is learning, and changing.
Despite the fact that NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) has a $1.7 billion, 8-year deal (Hinton, 135) with Fox, it actually had very humble beginnings. Many debate the very beginnings of racing itself. Richard Petty, a 200 race winner nicknamed “The King,” once joked, “It was the day they built the second automobile” (Menzer, 57). NASCAR actually began with a bunch of “Good Ol’ Boys” from down south. Many of the original drivers were moonshine runners, transporting illegal whiskey to lots of places in the southeast. NASCAR “was born on December 14, 1947, during a meeting of thirty-f...
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Hunter, Don & Pearce, Al. The Illustrated History of Stock Car Racing. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Company, 1998.
King, Florence. "The Misanthrope's Corner." National Review. 2 April, 2001: 64.
McCormick, Steve: About.com. 27 Aug. 2001. 26 October 2001. http://nascar.about.com/library/weekly/aa082701a.htm
Menzer, Joe. The Wildest Ride: A History of NASCAR. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
"NASCAR considers safety rules for super tracks." The Goshen News 24 Oct. 2001: B-2.
"NASCAR Safety is the Issue." Advertising Age 72.9 (2/26/01): 28. Academic Search Elite. Palni Site Search. Goshen College Good Library. 25 October, 2001.
Spencer, Lee. "NASCAR is Facing Pressure to Get up to Speed." Sporting News. 225.7 (2/12/01): 22. Academic Search Elite. Palni Site Search. Goshen College Good Library. 25 October, 2001.
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