My, my.... time does quickly pass.
Seems like just yesterday I was standing next to car owner/crew chief, Bud Moore on pit road at Pocono when Dale Earnhardt took a scary ride down in turn 1.
Actually it was 30 years ago, the second Pocono race of 1982, on July 25, when Dale got into the back of one of his favorite racing competitors, Tim Richmond and went for an upside down ride.
The blue & yellow #15 Wrangler T-bird with Earnhardt strapped aboard for the ride climbed the old boiler plate steel wall and rode for a distance on its roof before coming back down on the track. The car almost cut down the "Winston Pack" MRN radio booth with Eli Gold inside - a very scary moment for Eli.
Those were the days of racing back to the flag and very slow emergency response times. Dale was being inundated with hot oil from the oil cooler as he struggled upside down to get free. A photographer ran across the track to assist, along with Richmond, who helped Dale to the ambulance that finally arrived at the crash scene. I always remember Tim helping Dale that day.
Dale had been seriously injured at Pocono in 1979 and airlifted out by helicopter after breaking both collar bones and being knocked unconscious in a crash in his Rookie of the Year run. David Pearson subbed for the young Earnhardt at Darlington that September, winning the Southern 500 in Dale's Osterlund ride.
When the carcass of Dale's Wrangler T-bird was towed back to the Pocono garage, it was torn all to pieces. It was ready for the scrap heap behind Bud Moore's Spartanburg shop.
The late Don Naman called me in Greensboro at Wrangler headquarters on Monday morning after the crash to see if I could get Bud to donate the car to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum in Talladega as a "safety" display. Bud, who had no use for wrecked cars and had lost drivers Joe Weatherly and Billy Wade in crashes, politely declined the request.
As for "One Tough Customer" Dale Earnhardt, he maintained he was ok from the crash and drove the following race at Talladega secretly nursing a broken leg and had surgery on Monday after that race. Dale was a tough cookie and he and Tim Richmond had the utmost racing respect for each other.
Look how Dale slams the wall directly in front of the MRN Radio turn location pained to look like a Winston pack.
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
updated by @dave-fulton: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM