The motorsports and sports writing worlds lost a great person today. R.I.P. David Poole...
From The Associated Press:
David Poole, who spent 13 years covering NASCAR for The Charlotte Observer, died Tuesday of a heart attack. He was 50.
Poole was stricken at his Stanfield home and his daughter called 911, the paper said. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Poole, who joined the Observer in 1990, covered Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway, which ended when Carl Edwards' car flew into a safety fence on the last lap and injured seven fans. His final column ran Tuesday morning, and in it, Poole questioned what it would take for NASCAR to realize changes needed to be made to the racing style at the Alabama track.
“Is racing at Talladega out of control?” he wrote. “I say it is, and Carl Edwards' crash Sunday into the catch-fence in the tri-oval of the 2.66-mile track merely reinforced that opinion.
“Does somebody have to die before we've decided we don't have control?”
Poole, who also wrote a blog, Life in the Turn Lane for thatsracin.com and hosted The Morning Drive weekday show on Sirius NASCAR Radio, was a four-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association's writer of the year.
“He was the best in his field, there's no doubt about that,” Observer editor Rick Thames said.
A Gastonia native, Poole is survived by his wife, two sons, daughter, and one grandson.
Reaction from Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage:
“David was a powerful and prolific voice in NASCAR as a result of his role at The Charlotte Observer. He called me just last night and we talked for a while about a column he was working on so this is very stunning to me. The thing I liked about David was that you could argue a counterpoint to his thoughts and while he might argue his point vociferously he had an open mind to understand your position. Even if he still disagreed, he would respectfully concede the validity of your position. I’ve lost a friend and colleague, the sport lost a prescient voice but, worst of all, the Poole family lost a vital member.”
Statement from Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO:
“The NASCAR community is stunned and saddened by the loss of David Poole. David was as passionate about NASCAR as anyone and had very definitive opinions about the sport. He served the industry, and most importantly the fans, through his reporting and commentary in The Charlotte Observer and Sirius Satellite Radio. Our thoughts and prayers go out to David’s family and friends. He will be missed.”
Thoughts from the NASCAR community:
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to David's family. He was a friend of everybody in the garage area. He could be controversial from time to time but he always wrote and spoke what he believed. He didn't pull any punches with anybody and that's what people respected about him. He was good for the sport and will be missed."
– Richard Childress, President and CEO Richard Childress Racing
“David worked his (butt) off for our sport, whether it was in his writing or on his radio show. His life revolved around the sport and we're obviously very saddened by the loss. He will be missed.”
– Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
“David Poole was one of my toughest critics for a year or so when I was first starting out. Through that we became real good friends and I hate to hear that he's gone. He definitely had a passion for his work and was a really good guy and a good friend. He'll be missed."
– David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford
"I've gotten to know (David) Poole really well over the years. He spent a lot of time with the No. 31 team every weekend and would sit and have conversations with us on just about everything. He was fun to agree and debate with. I admired his professionalism and work ethic and he did a great job of reporting our sport to the fans. He's someone I have a lot of respect for and he will definitely be missed."
– Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet
“David is a straight-up guy. If I picked up a paper and there was a David Poole article in it, I would read it. His opinions and analysis were always fair and educated no matter what happened. I personally feel like he’s one of the best at delivering our sport (NASCAR) to the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. I’ll miss having him around.”
– Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford
"David was a great person. I loved being on his radio shows because he always found a way to make you laugh during the interview. He always made you feel like you were best buds that had known each other for years. He was a superb writer that always had creative angles to make a story the best it could be. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time. We'll all miss seeing his face in the garage area. It's a sad day for our NASCAR community to lose this incredible writer and dear friend."
– Stephen Leicht, driver of the Nationwide Series No. 29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express Chevrolet
"David Poole was a professional and his passing is a big loss to our sport. I always had a very good working relationship with David. He always knew when the right time to approach a driver was and when it wasn't. He was a fair and objective reporter and someone who I had a great deal of respect for. I always appreciated his no nonsense approach. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
– Casey Mears, driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet
“David was a very fair and honest reporter. He had refreshing honesty, and would speak his mind. He didn't care if everyone liked it or not, and never got wrapped up in the politics. You always knew where you stood with David and I will miss having him around.”
– Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DEWALT Ford