He gets up and
walks to an outer office and has a secretary-pull open the file drawers full of
charity requests. "I don't have time for family life," he says somberly
of his third wife, Teresa, and their six-year-old daughter. Taylor. He returns
to the sofa and sits, though he gives a sense that it's almost time to go.
Does he even feel
like the same person anymore?
With a slight
chuckle he says, "Sometimes I do. Sometimes you wonder. It is
It seems a
million years, he is told, since that November afternoon at Atlanta in 1978,
when an unknown kid got a one-shot ride with Osterlund Racing and during the
race was slammed broadside-to-broadside by veteran Dave Marcis, whereupon he
slammed Marcis back without so much as a serious swerve, attracting the
attention of Joe Whitlock.
at Earnhardt's kid!" Whitlock boomed up in the press box, identifying Dale
in the only way anyone else would recognize: as the son of the old dirt-tracker
Ralph Earnhardt. Whitlock took Earnhardt's kid under his wing and made him
, "taught me that there's more to racing than driving a car,"
as Dale said, and got him organized for the stardom that Whitlock swore would
come. Dale Earnhardt Inc. was created in
1979. And the rest is....
wish you had all that stuff Joe Whitlock wrote?" Earnhardt says. He sighs
and half-smiles. "All my rowdy friends," he says, "have rowdied on
But there's no
time to dwell on that. Gotta go. Still in a hurry. At least the Lear and the
leather datebook give him reasons why. "I'm going home," he says, but
just long enough "to pack my clothes."
He travels light,
the only extra baggage being those "three toughies," the ghosts in the
life of Dale Earnhardt.