NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt will be remembered on the ten year anniversary of his death Sunday at the 53rd Annual Daytona 500 race, according to ABC News, but Georgia fans of stock-car racing are likely to remember that another Dale — AMA National Road Racing Champion Dale Singleton — lost his life far too early too.
Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death would pull at the heartstrings of fans of the motor sport, making time stand still, as they watched him literally drive to his death in Daytona at the same track that will greet this years stock-car enthusiasts the world over.
Earnhard Sr’s death was ten years ago, but it still resonates with racers the world over.
Georgia fans of the ‘good ole boy’ Dale Singleton felt the same way when the Dalton, Georgia lad — who grew up to build his own racing bikes, and winning because of it — would meet his fatal end, but not on the track where you might have expected.
On Sept. 2, 1985, less than a week from his 30th birthday, Georgia’s Dale Singleton, along with his friend and fellow stock-car racer, Richie Panch from Daytona Beach, Florida, would crash to their deaths in a Piper PA-28-235-B plane as they encountered heavy rains leaving a stock-car race. Other individuals were on board as well, all dying in the fatal crash.
AMA champ Dale Singleton, like the Daytona 500 legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and fellow plane passesngers, would leave behind loved ones to grieve his absence. In Dale Singleton’s case that would include a father, “C.E.”, who has since passed away himself at the age of 81 on May 30, 2006.
Singleton would also leave behind a mother, June Acuff Singleton and two brothers — Perry and Spencer, of which the latter happens to be a dead ringer for his older movie-star handsome brother.
Dale Earnhardt, Sr. left behind a son that would go on to claim the attention of Daytona fans; Dale Singleton, alas did not, as he had no children during his lifetime.
To answer the question regarding whether GA’s Dale Singleton could have one day took on Dale Earnhardt Sr, read “Would he have been as Nascar big as legend Earnhardt”.
As Daytona 500 fans gear up for another exciting year of motor sport racing, it is important that the 10 year anniversary death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. bring a somber reminder that there is no guarantee of tomorrow, whether in the air or on the track. But it is also important to celebrate this year’s winners too, such as Daytona’s DRIVE4COPD 300 Tony Stewart. I’m sure both Dales would have wanted that.
And Dale Singleton’s death, which preceded Dale Earnhardt’s by almost two decades, didn’t happen on the track, in spite of his incredibly fast speed during his races. So fans of motorsports — and its detractors — should take that thought captive as they make their way to Daytona for the 53rd annual Daytona 500 race on Sunday.
Dayton 500 fans should remember that racing may exact a price, but it is like anything else in life: a calculated risk. I know Dale Singleton certainly would get back in the race again if he could–in life, or on the track.
References: ABC, AMA and Singleton Family