Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Angel in Black

Race fans probably wonder where the book name "Angel in Black: Remembering Dale Earnhardt Sr." came from.

I wrote "I Remember Dale Earnhardt" in early 2001 for Cumberland House Publishing and decided to promote the book with a story I could send to small newspapers (which are often looking for free copy). So I used a portion of the book and told a story about Earnhardt's love for (and kindnesses toward) children.

In one story from the book, a little boy is dying, and his wish is to meet Earnhardt. Dale had just undergone surgery and couldn't travel, so an ambulance and medical team were assembled to bring the boy to the Kannapolis area.

Earnhardt was wearing a collar, and he was shy about people seeing it. But he allowed someone to take a photo of him with the boy, and he told the boy that no one else would see him with that collar. He spent time with the boy, who didn't have much time left, and he made the next few days more bearable for the boy's parents.

There are other stories like that in the book. Why Angel in Black? In that promotion story, I said that kids didn't see Earnhardt as the baddest man on the planet. To them, he was the angel in black.

Then we were updating the book in 2007. While working on the update, I sent a copy of that article to my editor at Cumberland House, John Mitchell, and he showed it to the publisher, Ron Pitkin. Ron fell in love with the term Angel in Black, and he asked me what we could call the book with Angel in Black as the main head. One of my suggestions was "Angel in Black: Remembering Dale Earnhardt Sr." And that's what was used.

More blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

Blog entries from The Dog Blog
More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

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