Imet David Poole in 2006, when I first gained access to NASCAR races as a member of the media.

Already a fan of the sport, I had been reading Poole's work online for years. His writing for The Charlotte Observer was extremely popular at the ThatsRacin.com Web site, where fans never failed to respond to Poole's strong opinions.

Sitting at news conferences over the years, I always looked forward to hearing what question would pop out of Poole's mouth. He had a sense of humor that frequently came to light, but he was also knowledgeable about the sport and eager to get the facts.

A very busy man, Poole was also active in the National Motorsports Press Association, and I appreciated his contributions to maintain professional integrity among members of our organization. He was also host of "The Morning Drive" on Sirius NASCAR satellite radio.

Poole's Tuesday column talked about the terrible wrecks that happened Sunday during the Aaron's 499 at Talladega and the seven fans who suffered injuries because of them.

The headline read: "Will it take a death for Talladega to change?"

Sadly, and ironically, David Poole died suddenly from a heart attack Tuesday.

"There are people talking about getting rid of the yellow line that marks out of bounds for passing on the inside at Daytona and Talladega," Poole wrote. "That's pointless. If there's no line there, the race leader will go to the edge of the pavement -- and beyond, if need be -- to protect his position.


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"NASCAR also hinted it might have to be more vigilant in assessing penalties for aggressive driving," Poole continued.
Then, in his classic sarcastic style, he asked: "You mean like it was Sunday, when it 'warned' Brian Vickers not to do again what it had specifically told drivers not to do in the pre-race driver's meeting?"

What about moving the Talladega start-finish line closer to Turn 4? "That just moves the wreck, and besides, that might 'hurt' the racing, which is apparently all that matters," he concluded.

"All I want is for someone to tell me what's acceptable," he wrote. "We apparently established Sunday that seven fans being injured -- one spent the night in a hospital with a broken jaw -- is OK.

"How many people have to be listed in 'guarded' or 'critical' condition before we say that's too much? Is it lead changes? If we have fewer than five fans hurt for every lead change, is that acceptable?

"Does somebody have to die before we've decided we don't have control?"

David Poole made many contributions to the sport of NASCAR, and he will be deeply missed.

Ellen Siska writes about NASCAR for The York Dispatch. She can be reached at esiska@yorkdispatch.com.