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NHRA's John Force remembers auto racing writer David Poole

April 29, 2009 |  2:53 pm

The auto racing world lost a great writer this week. David Poole, a writer for the Charlotte Observer who was a legend in NASCAR and newspapers, died of a heart attack on Tuesday.

NHRA funny car driver John Force compared Poole to Shav Glick, the venerable auto racing writer for many years at the L.A. Times. Poole was to NASCAR fans in the South what Glick was to fans of auto racing in Southern California. They told the stories and knew the people who mattered most in the sports they covered.

Here is what Force had to say about Poole:

“I’ve read his stories for years. I had the chance to sit down with him and pitch our stories about the NHRA on a number of occasions. He had this love of NASCAR and really all of motor sports. He was intent on getting the gospel out on what we did. It was through him that I learned so much about other motor sports, drivers, crew chiefs and just the ways of the sport.

“I remember we sat in my trailer and we talked about guys that he knew like (Dale) Earnhardt. I felt it was an opportunity for me to sit with what we considered an icon and even though in the beginning I didn’t know him, it was the excitement that came with meeting him. My PR man, Dave Densmore, told me I was going to get this opportunity to sit with this guy. Densmore said you don’t know how big and powerful this guy is. So I went into this meeting and I felt that I had an opportunity to talk about drag racing, to pitch our view to one of the great ones of our time. That meeting turned out to be a lot of fun because he told me the stories. He became the storyteller and I became the listener. It was a reversal for me. At the end of the day I didn’t know if I gave him anything but we spoke more about the people that he had met in his lifetime, the ones that he struggled with and the ones that he loved. He definitely had a passion for what he did. His passion was to send the message from the stuff we gave him. It wasn’t just about me it was about all the race teams.”

“You could compare him with the great ones from my time like Shav Glick with the L.A. Times, who covered us so well for so many years in drag racing. But more than that Poole was like Elvis was to the music world or Dale Earnhardt Sr. was to NASCAR, or even John Wayne in Hollywood. He was one of the great ones. He’s sat with the greatest drivers in the history of motor sports. I even felt a little intimidated because I thought why would he want to hear my story.”

“The stuff that he wrote was unbelievable but in the real world he was just a good ole Joe. He was just a good ole guy that made me feel comfortable. The people that he knew, the ones that are still here but mostly the ones that are gone, the stories that he told me; I hope to God he wrote them down and left them behind. He told me stuff that was priceless about people that I would have never heard about or I didn’t know the person that I thought I knew.”

-- Tim Haddock