Millions knew Dale Earnhardt Sr. as “The Intimidator,” one of the roughest, toughest racing drivers of all time. Author Tom Gillispie shares stories from those who knew the real Earnhardt in Angel in Black: Remembering Dale Earnhardt Sr. (March 2008, $15.95, ISBN-13: 978-1-58182-638-8).
Like many public figures, Earnhardt was a complex and complicated man. While he was known for taking advantage of any situation that developed on the track, regardless of the consequences, not many people saw his softer, more philanthropic side. Those closest to him knew a generous, kind man who would meet and greet children in their hospital beds and wheelchairs, give money to desperate families, and provide seed to farmers whose land had been ruined by disasters.
The stories within Angel in Black are from those who knew him best – fellow drivers, team members, NASCAR officials, business associates, family, and friends. Their recollections paint a full portrait of a real man; from his public persona as the crusty, cantankerous intimidator at the racetrack to his many acts of kindness towards others for which he never sought recognition. Earnhardt’s fans also share their comments and tributes to the legendary driver.
Tom Gillispie is a veteran sportswriter who has covered auto racing and other sports for many years, most recently as a contributing writer for the Winston-Salem Journal. He has written for numerous auto racing publications, including Stock Car Racing Magazine, NASCAR Scene, Auto World Weekly, Beckett Racing Monthly, and Speedway Illustrated and is the author of Racing Families: A Tribute to Racing’s Fastest Dynasties. Gillispie lives in Rural Hall, North Carolina.
Sample of the Contributors and People Quoted in Book:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Friends & Acquaintances
Stevie Waltrip, wife of Darrell Waltrip
Idus Brendle, Earnhardt’s fishing buddy
Steve Ellsworth, Earnhardt’s longtime barber
Car Owners & Pit Crew
Larry McReynolds – Earnhardt’s former crew chief
Tony Eury Sr. – Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief
Larry McClure – Morgan-McClure Racing
Barry Dodson –Earnhardt’s longtime crew chief
Ken Squier, CBS
Eli Gold, longtime motorsports announcer
Dr. Jerry Punch, ESPN
David Green, Auto World Weekly
“Humpy” Wheeler – Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Bruton Smith – Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Chris Powell – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Ed Clark – Atlanta Motor Speedway
Dr. Joe Mattioli – Pocono Raceway
Grant Lynch – Talladega Superspeedway
Jim Hunter – NASCAR’s chief publicist