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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Expresses GriefAired February 23, 2001 - 12:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go now to that press conference in Rockingham, North Carolina, where Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now addressing the press.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: ... this will be your only opportunity to get comments from them. This may not be exactly how you would wish it to be, but it is how we wish it to be. And we are going to have each driver make their comments, say what they wish to say, but there will be no question-and-answer period, nor will there be any one-on- ones after this. So please pay attention to what's being said, and once it's said these three drivers will be leaving.
Before we get into that, I really want to, on behalf of the Earnhardt family, thank Al Brokes (ph) and Kelly Crouch (ph) and George Pine (ph) and everyone -- the France family -- for what they've done in the last few days, allowing their Charlotte office to help us with all of the service that happened yesterday, and all the people at R.J. Reynolds Sports Marketing Enterprises. It was absolutely an incredible event. They did a perfect job. And the way the media helped us get the message out to leave it to the NASCAR family obviously worked because it was one of the most special events, and it was just about perfect from a logistical standpoint. And I want to thank everyone here for helping us put all that together, because it took a lot of stress off the Earnhardt family.
I'm going to open it up; first we're going to have Dale Earnhardt Jr., then Michael Waltrip, Daytona 500 champion, and then Steve Park -- Dale Jr.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NASCAR DRIVER: I just wanted to -- hello?
First off, I just want to thank all the fans and all the NASCAR family and everybody involved for the respect that they've shown over the last several days. It's been quite a difficult time for the family and the Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated family, and everybody's treated this to the best of their ability, and done a real good job of giving us a lot of space and allowing us to take some very deep breaths and get everything into perspective.
I really don't know what else to say. It's just been a tough time. We've had a lot of questions and things running around in our minds, but our main focus is to try and maintain and progress with the vision my father had with Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated to the best of our ability with the help of these two fellows here next to me and the rest of the family at Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated -- we're going to try our best to maintain and carry on with the racing program and try to stick with the -- stick beside Teresa as best we can and help her in any way she needs.
I do want to say that any notion or any idea that -- or any blame placed upon anyone, whether it be Sterling Marlin, or anybody else, for that matter, is ridiculous and will not be tolerated. I just think it's completely incredible that -- some of the things that I've heard or been told about.
But one of the thing that this really teaches you the most about is how selfish you are about things like this. I mean, I miss my father, and I've cried for him, but out of my own selfish pity, is the reason for those emotions. And I just try to maintain a good focus for the future and just remember that he's in a better place, a place that we all want to be.
And that's really all I have to say.
HARRIS: We've been listening to this press conference off and on throughout the morning. This is some of the racers who will be driving this weekend in the Rockingham race in North Carolina.
We just saw there in the red, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is going to run in the race -- drive in the race tomorrow. He will not be driving his dad's car or anything like that, but he did share some of the pain that he's endured in this week of strain on his family and himself. And we've gotten to see a little bit of how he and his family have learned to turn their pain into a positive force. We will continue to follow that story as it develops.
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