By Jerry Bonkowski
I am sitting here writing this in a state of shock. My good friend and in my mind the best writer in NASCAR, David Poole of the Charlotte Observer, passed away this afternoon at the far too young age of 50.
From the way I understand it, David had just finished his regular 7-to-11 a.m. ET air shift on Sirius NASCAR Radio. He was at home and apparently suffered a heart attack, according to the Observer. He was rushed to a local hospital but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
David was one of the most colorful characters I've ever met in the world of sports. He had a rough outer edge, but once you got to know him, he had a heart of gold. More than anything, when David spoke, he was respected by everyone. I take pride in having patterned myself after him, someone who wrote what he believed, backed it up with facts, and then stood his ground to defend every word, sentence, paragraph and story he ever put in print.
It is so eerie that I was reading a bio about David just yesterday, one that ended with a reference that one of his favorite things was spending time with his two-year-old grandchild -- a grandchild who will now be deprived of ever spending time with one of the funniest, wittiest and most talented individuals I've ever met.
When reporters write about death, we have to detach ourselves and do it by the book. But for the first time in my career, I'm sorry, I just can't write much more right now. My mind is a jumble of thoughts, experiences, memories and stories -- none that I can type right now because of the loss of my friend David.
Rest in peace, David, and my condolences to his family, friends and everyone who has ever known him. He was someone who left us way, way, way too early and will be greatly missed.