In this somber edition of our Country Throwback series, we’re revisiting Randy Owen’s performance of “Goodbye” at the funeral of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt in 2001.
On Feb. 18, 2001, Earnhardt crashed into the wall in turn 4 during the last lap of the Daytona 500. The famous race car driver died instantly from a basilar skull fracture during the wreck. In the long run, the notoriety of the fatal crash would lead to further safety improvements within NASCAR. However, at the time, Earnhardt’s death shook the sports world and devastated the racing community.
Earnhardt, 49, was laid to rest in his hometown of Kannapolis, NC a few days later. On Feb. 22, an invite-only memorial service drew thousands of mourners to bid their last goodbye to “The Intimidator.” The service was held at Calvary Church, the largest in the state, in neighboring Charlotte.
Thousands honored Earnhardt’s life and legacy that day, including country group Alabama’s lead singer Randy Owen. The famous singer honored the racer by opening the memorial service with a touching tribute. He sang Alabama’s song “Goodbye” during the emotional performance for Earnhardt.
Owen is seen wearing an all-black suit and performing alone with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone.
“Goodbye, goodbye, till I see you again. Goodbye, goodbye, I’ll love and I’ll miss you. Till then, remember me, cause I care,” Owen sang during the memorial.
There weren’t many dry eyes in the audience as Owen sang Alabama’s heartfelt “Goodbye” for the late Dale Earnhardt.
Dale Earnhardt Honored by Charlie Daniels’ ‘Intimidator’
Charlie Daniels of the Charlie Daniels Band was a lifelong NASCAR fan. Like many other NASCAR fans in 2001, the death of Dale Earnhardt hit him hard. As thousands of Earnhardt fans across the country mourned the loss of the seven-time Winston Cup champion, Daniels put his sadness into song. He honored Dale Earnhardt and his final NASCAR win with a song named after the racer’s nickname “The Intimidator.”
“The Intimidator” focuses on Earnhardt’s last victory instead of on his death. The song recalls the driver’s win at the Winston 500 at Talladega Speedway in 2000. The racer passed seventeen cars in the final four laps to earn first place that day. In fact, Earnhardt crossed the line less than a second before Kenny Wallace making for one of the most exciting races in NASCAR history.
The upbeat track comes off as a Southern rock ballad. In addition, the guitars open the song sounding like engines revving. Towards the end of the song, Daniels even references Earnhardt’s son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had broken into the sport as well.
“You almost got this sucker won, the engine’s running great but don’t look in your rearview mirror. Here comes Number 8. He’s a rocker and a roller and he sure knows how to shut them down. I guess it runs in the family. The Intimidator’s back in town,” the lyrics say.
Daniels’ “The Intimidator” was a fitting tribute to the racing legend.