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Richmond International Raceway May 1, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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Richmond International Speedway
Image by mlovitt via Flickr

David Poole’s Space Reserved

I arrived with a heavy heart in the media center here at RIR and here in the deadline room there is a spot reserved for David Poole – noted motorsports journalist who passed away this past week. A sign reserving his spot and his photo sits where he would be covering this event….right in front of the news conference stage. It just seems not right. Yesterday’s funeral was very classy, short and sweet, and left many of us with our own private thoughts and aches at the loss of our comrade. It was not about slide shows and music and speeches and tributes, it was about scripture and listening to the minister and private soul searching. I have many thoughts deep inside about all of this and like the rest of us am dealing with it both on the air but also much of it alone inside. It’s sad because this media group needs to support each other into healthy living which is tough on the road and I wish we could have gotten David to get healthy. It’s really tough because David was such a presence….but this is a tight group and it seems already that in the rough and tumble world of the media corps, press room here at RIR it seems that the media group is just a little bit warmer, with hugs and support to each other this morning. It’s a competitive group but where it really counts we are family.

Here’s my broadcast schedule for this weekend:

“Dialed In” – Today Friday, May 1
from the end of Sprint Cup Series Qualifying to the start of the Lipton Tea 250 Nationwide Series race (Qualifying starts at 5:30 p.m. EST)

“Dialed In” – Saturday, May 2
2:00 p.m. EST until the start of the Sirius NASCAR Radio Pre Race Show (Sprint Cup Series) at 3:45 p.m. EST. I’ll be anchoring pre race from the booth (Steve Post in garage) and in victory lane LIVE after the Sprint Cup Series Race on the post race shows.

I have gotten so many emails at ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com and it’s been such an insane week with the passing of David Poole that I have fallen behind answering…but am catching up and if you have not gotten a reply yet – I will definitely do that. I really appreciate your emails at the above address and will have more blogs from the media center this weekend. For now….I want to say thanks for your support and friendship. It’s been a tough week. I do know that David would have wanted us to move on to the racing as a way to get our minds off of the loss we all feel.

Claire B

PS – There are so many people grieving each in their own way. Some are not on the air public- editors, PR people, co-workers, track workers, officials. Some like Jim Utter from thatsracin.com worked with Poole for ten years..sat next to him, ate dinner with him, worked on story budgets and stories with him week after week, traveled with him and knows him better than anyone. He is holding up and putting on a brave front. We all had inside jokes….and our own private talks and things we teased Poole about and laughed with him about in the many hours we waited out rain delays that the next guy – could never know – could never understand or put into his own words. We will all deal with this in our own way….and we’ll get through it together in our own way. We need to support each other as much as we can right now.

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David Poole – “Go Rest High On That Mountain” April 28, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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He gave many a reason to get up in the morning

Sadly, today – we mourn the tragic death of a comrade, a friend, and one heck of a motorsports journalist.

The passing of David Poole today – – is a great loss ,of course, to his family which he treasured and talked about often on the road – but also to our sport

The NASCAR media core is a tough group but an extremely close clan ——even as we bicker and debate and wrangle issues on the road and in the media centers at tracks far from home. To all of us —and to everyone who loves racing….we struggle at a lost for words with an ache that won’t go away inside at word of David Poole’s passing.

Poole was a guy who could argue with you on racing until you got mad –or gave up crying uncle or stood your ground until you made him blustery. That was David. No one more than he enjoyed the pure debate on the sport he loved. He was passionate about his views on racing and he was good at it. If you thought David Poole was wrong on an issue, you’d better have the facts to back up your challenge because David was on his game. Behind that columnists’ exterior (columnists are paid to get your blood pumping) he was a writer who gave us all a real great reason to drop in a few coins to pick up the newspaper and read it and react every day. I believe it is that tribute that would mean a great deal to him. You bought the paper because David had something to say. That led to him joining SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.

Behind that columnists’ exterior was also a guy who would give you the shirt off his back —back you up when you didn’t know it – and help you when you were down and out.

Drivers and folks in the sport respected him so much that they’d almost always call his name out, refer to him, or banter with him at the start of news conferences – no matter what the issue. Calling out to David was part of most news conferences held in the sport..no matter what the issue.

I don’t know if anyone ever made much of how hard David Poole worked. He wasn’t a guy who mailed it in, who stayed at home. Week after week, with very few exceptions Poole was at his desk in the media center at a track, or traveling to a race track, to deliver the story to his readers.

At SIRIUS NASCAR Radio he was extremely kind to me when I joined the channel this year . I was formerly the competition, but David even wrote me a note welcoming me when I moved over to SIRIUS and it meant a great deal to me.

I always told David that he had a big heart –but that I wouldn’t tell anyone….He loved playing the tough guy on the radio and being the guy who you wanted to argue with. He actually enjoyed it a great deal.

Inside though, David was a sensitive guy who had many friends in the sport, who was respected by the drivers and the business folks and who loved racing.

I am so sad at his passing. It’s hard to imagine the sport without Poole.

I wish his family strength and I admire that nowhere on this earth was there anyone else exactly like David Poole.

He made his mark. He gave us a reason to get up in the morning to read the paper or listen to the radio and he did what he loved. Someone asked about a charity and there are several you could contribute to in his name – but I think he’d feel good also if you put a few quarters in the box and bought the daily newspaper tomorrow morning in his name – no matter where you live.

We’ll miss you David.

Go rest high on that mountain!

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