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"I believe anybody who tells you he is unbiased is a liar. Being human gives you bias, and you can't avoid that. The best you can ever hope to be is fair."
-David Poole

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Various Other Articles

Saying Goodbye to a Friend
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By Carol Einarsson | 04/29/2009
Category: Various Other Articles
 

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It's hard to say what David Poole meant to me. Honestly I'd never thought of it until I saw the headline that he was gone. I think it's safe to say that many years ago, I knew that when I "grew up", I wanted to be David Poole. His name was everywhere. He was the motorsports authority in journalism. He was known, and he was respected.

And now he's gone.

Why do we wait until times like these to say the best things we know about people? I wish I knew the answer.

When I started writing about the world of NASCAR so many years ago, it wasn't long until I knew the name David Poole. He and Monte Dutton together were the go-to guys of NASCAR news. There weren't many (any?) women really writing about NASCAR at the time, and while I remember the first time I ever had a link posted on Jayski's site, I recall that I was the only female name on the list. What I remember even more, though, is that I was on a list with David Poole. There was his name, and there was mine, almost as if we were given equal credibility (don't worry, I know that's laughable and I knew it then, too). It was thrilling.

The book offer from the Chicken Soup folks was a benchmark for me. Now it wasn't just my name, but my writing that was in the company of David Poole's. When I read the table of contents for the first time and saw that I was soon to be published in a book with him, I felt a sense of having "arrived". The book deal was great, the recognition of the Chicken Soup series was exciting, but to be in a group of writers with David Poole was an "Oh happy day!" kind of feeling.

And if I'm honest about my writing in the past few years, we'll also find that the greatest thrill of writing for ThatsRacin.com was that I was now sharing a site with my journalistic idol.

Lots of people knew the crotchety side of David Poole. They'd seen him in the media center when a cell phone would ring and not be answered in the timely fashion that he preferred and soon his booming voice would tell the owner to answer the damn phone. They'd see him at press conferences and on the occasional panel show. But the gentler side was often unseen.

David cared about other people's writing because he cared about the sport. If I wrote something that he felt didn't make sense or was one-off on the facts, he'd email me about it. But he was never accusing or mean. Rather, he'd ask questions to make me think, and rethink what I'd written. He could have simply dismissed me as just another dime-a-dozen wannabe writers, but he didn't. Long before the book deal, and long before the TR deal, David Poole would challenge me as a writer, just keeping me honest.

Two things in particular have stayed with me, and I hope will always stay with me, and they each show a softer side of the man I admired.

In January of 2006, A well-known NASCAR publicist, whose firm represented several drivers, was arrested. Many people, myself included, were discussing the scandal in hushed voices, shocked at the accusations against someone whose life was about making good press, not bad. Yes, it was scandalous, but y'know what? One afternoon after this man had been arrested, David Poole took his lunch break to go to the jail and visit him. When I heard that, I was convicted in my heart as I remembered the words from Matthew 25, "...I was in prison and you came to visit me." While some were content with idle gossip, David Poole got up and went to visit a man that was in prison. What does that say about the rest of us?

Later that same year, I again saw the true heart of the man. In 2005, David lost his dad. Bob Costas once said that there is no more defining moment in a man's life than the day he loses his father. I've seen it again and again, and even the crustiest of men are softened and changed when they have to say goodbye to their dad. David Poole was no different in that respect, and in October of 2006, he gave the world a rare glimpse of his private life in an open letter to his "daddy", and if that piece of writing didn't touch you, you have a heart of stone.

David Poole will never know what he meant to me. I wonder if he really knew what he meant to the world of motorsports journalism. He earned awards year after year, so surely he knew he was respected by his professional peers in the field, but I wonder if he knew how much he meant to the wannabes like me. He will surely be missed.

His words echo in my heart and across my keyboard... words he wrote to his father, but words that are just as true for me: "All I can promise is that I'll do the best job I can, because that's all I ever saw you do."

Thanks, David, for all you've meant to me.

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Comments:
debster48
04/29/2009 3:06 am (1)
Carol,
what a very loving testament to David's life!
Thank you!
Deb
JRFAN1996
04/29/2009 4:01 am (2)
He had a heart of gold!
giluvracing
04/29/2009 4:44 am (3)
If I'm not mistaken, when Jeff Gordon was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, he picked David as his "phone a friend." Now, that's respect. Jeff knew David as being as fair as he was knowledgeable. I don't know of many sports figures who would pick journalists to help out in such a spot, particularly in the New York market. IMHO, that's more a measure of the man than anything else I can think of.

Race fans have lost a valuable source of information, racers have lost an important voice for their sport, but most importantly, David's family and friends have lost a big portion of their lives. My deepest condolences to them -- to you, too, Carol -- and to anyone who has read, laughed, and learned from David's writings.

--Mike.

(Yes, I know he missed the question...but I don't care.)
highbanks24
04/29/2009 8:37 am (4)
Thank you Carol for a wonderful tribute to one of Nascar's finest journalist. The sport has lost a true gem.

My sincere prayers go out to David Poole's family and friends, I wish them peace and comfort during this time.

Bill B
04/29/2009 9:26 am (5)
I was sorry to see this yesterday. How sad. RIP David.
harpamy
04/29/2009 10:23 am (6)
You know, he died in somewhat the same way that Tim Russert died and that was doing what they both loved to do. I am not sure about this but you could say that Russert and Poole are in the same eschelon.?.

I was saddened to hear of the loss and especially at such a young age.

May God give comfort and encouragement to the family and friends of David Poole.
JMACFan
04/29/2009 1:14 pm (7)
Dave was so young and it is really difficult to think about his being gone from the NASCAR world forever. I counted on his honest opinion and passion when I read his articles. He was a fan of NASCAR. He was not always a fan of the folks that run it. He kept it real.

He will be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

RIP Dave Poole.
TonilovesTony
04/29/2009 1:45 pm (8)
Thanks Carol for such a wonderful tribute to David. I am a Sirius radio subscriber who religiously listens to The Morning Drive and Sirius Speedway. I listened yesterday morning and thought something just wasn't right, David wasn't as fiesty as usual. I listened as David and Mike Bagley signed off and went about my day. When Dave Moody announced that David had passed away it felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. I never met him personally, but feel like I know him as a friend.

I listened everyday, have called in once, and sometimes emailed my race picks. One day he read my pick and I laughed out loud. I sent it from my work email and it had my contact information and my official work title. he read: "Toni BSN,RN; does that mean she is full of BS?" Bagley said "Probably, but she is a nurse too". I also donated money to Pennies for Wessa last summer, he sent me a personal email thanking me for my donation. I printed it off today so I can keep it.

I know he was a grouchy crumudgen, but gosh he was hilarious. "NO, NO NO, NO NO NO NO" was a frequent comment and his Dramatic Read done on Fridays had me stop what I was doing just to listen. I usually found myself laughing hysterically with Mike Bagley. My recent favorite was 2 weeks ago he did Pokerface from Lady GaGa. "Pu-Pu-Pu-Pokerface" LOL!!!!

My prayers and thoughts are with the Poole family, especially little Eli, the apple of his Paw Paw's eye, he loved you very much.
possum
04/29/2009 4:13 pm (9)
Sympathy for David Poole's family.

It occurs to me, considering David's size, that those of us like me, who are in the late 40s and heavier than we should be, might take this as an inspiration to try for a healthier lifestyle.

John
Gymmie
04/29/2009 11:17 pm (10)
Thank you for the kind words about Mr. Poole Carol.

He'll definitely be missed. When I read of his passing I was very sad and reading the various comments from the sites of those who knew him helps us learn more about him. I haven't read all the comments in the guest book but I've read a few and they're all very touching.

RIP David
aesop
04/30/2009 7:21 am (11)
Thank you for a great article on David Poole, I know it came from your heart....
davis88
04/30/2009 8:50 am (12)
Rest in Peace, David Poole............... you will be missed!
JMACFan
04/30/2009 11:42 am (13)
What can one say about David Poole that already hasn't been said. He was a great writer, passionate about the sport he covered. He pulled no punches and said what he truly believed was right. He wasn't out to win any popularity contest. He was out to write what he thought would be for the betterment of the sport.

He was too young to die and it is tragic for his family and friends. He will be missed. RIP David Poole
BrianInFlorida
05/01/2009 5:46 am (14)
I too must admit how taken aback I was when I booted up Jayski and read David's death as the banner.

RIP David Poole

3 Killer Bs
05/03/2009 12:56 pm (15)
Beautiful tribute, Carol.

David Poole will be sorely missed. May God be with all who loved him.

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