David Poole will be missed by many in and out of the NASCAR family. He was one of those people we all meet in life that has tremendous conviction. Agree or disagree with his point of view one always knew where he stood. And if he stepped on someone's toes; so be it. I admire that in a person.
David had a big influence on getting my new writing career out of the gate. The two of us never met face to face. But we should have. I will get to that later.
Following my layoff from Germain Racing last winter I started to think outside the box about what my next move would be. I wanted to remain in motorsports and returning to a NASCAR team seemed unlikely right away with as many fellow mechanics that were out of work and looking to get back in.
My feeling while I was turning wrenches on stock cars was that I would like to become involved with the media side of the sport in some form. Possibly writing or broadcasting was in my future? It fell under the “maybe someday” category. As in when I retire from competition, similar to a former ballplayer entering the broadcast booth.
With the large layoff that hit our sport, my ideas were accelerated and I started to peer down brand new avenues in racing.
I began contacting established professionals in motorsports media, explaining whom I am and what I was trying to do. Everyone was very gracious in giving me his or her own advice and recommendations. One who helped me locate the writing launching pad was David Poole.
I was a reader of David's work at The Charlotte Observer and a listener of his talk show on Sirius NASCAR Radio's The Morning Drive.
Corresponding through email at The Observer, he described to me the direction the print media was heading and recommended exploring the electronic media platforms. His suggestion was to head to Jayski.com, a very popular NASCAR news site. I should explore the web site links that are near the start of the page, contact their editors and moderators, and see whom I could make a connection with.
Knowing full well who Mr. Poole was I looked forward to someday meeting him face to face and possibly working with him.
My chance came in the recent benefit for Jake Elder held in Mooresville, NC. I was planning on attending to do my part to help Mr. Elder. A column came out of the day and I was, in my own small way, able to publicize the good cause we were all supporting.
By listening to Poole's morning radio show he co-hosts with Mike Bagley, I knew he would be attending as well.
That wasn't my main focus of heading to the Elder fundraiser, but I was aware that if David was there I, at least, wanted to introduce myself and thank him for taking his time to steer me in the right direction.
I did see the NASCAR beat writer there. Several times. Each time he was speaking with someone and I did not want to interrupt. I got talking to people I knew as well.
So the time passed and I repeatedly saw him in conversation with someone different. I tried to keep an eye on the man, waiting for my polite moment to walk up, introduce myself, thank him in person, and selfishly, see what further words of wisdom I could absorb from him.
Eventually, in my chatting as well, I lost Mr. Poole. He was gone. No longer to be found.
“He must have left,” I thought to myself. “Oh well, I'll meet him some other time.”
Now that will never happen.
There is a lesson to be learned here for all of us. For those of us that are just used to hearing David, reading his work, or are a close friend or family member. This is a reminder as to how fragile life is.
Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth wound up on their roofs in violent Talladega crashes over the weekend and walked away. David Poole watched the racing events from the press box and is no longer with us.
Sometimes I thought he was right on in his opinion. Other times I thought he was absolutely wrong. But all the time I enjoyed what he had to say.
Listening to him and reading his work on a regular basis made me feel like I knew him. Beyond auto racing I felt like I especially bonded with him when he described watching The Wonder Pets cartoon with his grandson. My daughter Colleen is three and loves the very same show. Fitting how I type this, an episode is airing and my little girl is next to me watching.
I'll miss his points of view and will always regret not making an opportunity to introduce myself, say hello, and thank him in person.
Godspeed David. And thank you.