Unlike his fellow competitors, who didn't learn Earnhardt was dead until well after the accident on the final lap of the Daytona 500, Schrader knew how bad it was the moment he poked his head into the battered No. "As far as laps and seasons and on track, it feels like years ago (since Dale raced),'' Schrader said, pausing and sighing. The two veterans -- distinctly more vintage than new-age NASCAR -- had been friends since almost the day Schrader and his family arrived in North Carolina from his home state of Missouri. Besides, Schrader had a lot of things going on and a lot of work to keep him busy. Then he delivered the bad news to Waltrip, who had just won NASCAR’s biggest race for the first time in a car owned by Earnhardt. After the two cars slid down the track and onto the grass, Schrader climbed from his car and rushed over to check on his old friend. He looked completely at ease as he rode his bright yellow motorcycle through the infield at Atlanta and was confident when he climbed into his race car and drove it to a season-high eighth-place finish Sunday in the Cracker Barrel 500. He knew it was bad as soon as he looked inside. "we lost Dale Earnhardt" ? Closed Captioning and Described Video is available for many CBC shows offered on CBC Gem. "I remember when she was even younger, the first time I took her over to Earnhardt's house and he had all his hunting things up on the walls. CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices. Schrader (right) knows that with the sport marking 10 years since Earnhardt's death this Speedweeks, the attention will be on the accident and will inevitably bring up memories. You’ve probably seen the video of Ken looking into the car and then frantically waving to the medical crews. Frustrated that he was wrecked in the last corner of the last lap of the 500 and denied what looked like a sure top-five finish, Schrader unbuckled his safety harness, climbed out of his hobbled Pontiac and calmly made his way around the back of Earnhardt's car (above). "He was a very sweet man, had a heart of gold and wanted to make damn sure people didn't know it. There were rumours at the next week's race that Schrader was going to quit, that what he had seen in Earnhardt's car -- which he won't discuss in detail -- was just too much to overcome. His resolve is to keep them more positive than tragic. “I didn’t think it was my place to tell the world,” Schrader said. The emotion in his eyes was hidden behind sunglasses, but his face was pale and his voice shaky when he lied and said he didn't know. What can I get you?' It was a national tragedy ? His face was pale and his voice shaky when he lied and said he didn’t know. "It was kinda like he couldn't help himself,'' Scharder laughed. In this opening story, with the perspective of a decade gone by, FanHouse's Senior Motorsports Writer Holly Cain talks to Ken Schrader, who was the first person to Dale's car after the fatal accident. "He had a ton of ability to start with,'' Schrader said. Like so many, Schrader says the sport is suffering from an Earnhardt void. He wanted it worse than a lot of people. He wasn't going to take no for an answer ever. A Midwest racing icon who was prone to drive -- and win -- anything with wheels, Schrader had decided to see what this burgeoning sport of NASCAR was all about. "I never thought (he might be dead). Orange County under siege by wildfires; 2 firefighters gravely burned. 3 car and saw his lifeless body. in making the announcement that shocked and saddened people like no other death in American motorsports. The hardest part was yet to come. Schrader also had his own emotions to deal with. But he can do something about how it affects him. “Because he’s a racer, he has a very realistic attitude and has been able to cope with it.”. There was no instinct or anything, no gut feeling.''. “I saw a friend in trouble. “I didn’t know what the final deal was, so I just told him it was big and Dale was in trouble,” Schrader said. "I didn't think it was my place to tell the world," Schrader said. Whether you loved to hate him or you loved to love him, he stirred a passion. I guess after a few days she started getting homesick and he told me how he would put her on his lap, make her laugh, even cuddle with her, just trying to make her feel more comfortable. Schrader took one look into the cockpit and instead immediately started motioning frantically for emergency workers to rush to Earnhardt's aid. On his way, Schrader was stopped by a TV crew and asked about Earnhardt. The summer before, Dorothy Schrader had spent a week with the Earnhardts on their yacht. "I saw a friend in trouble. Instead, he delivered the bad news to Waltrip, who had just won NASCAR's biggest race for the first time in a car owned by Earnhardt. The summer before, Dorothy Schrader had spent a week with the Earnhardts on their yacht. "All he's ever wanted to do was go fast, race well and be competitive. "What I saw in the car that day, that will stay with you," Schrader said in his first extensive interview about the crash. And after poor performances in Rockingham, N.C., and Las Vegas, Schrader had to make a difficult change on his team by firing crew chief Sammy Johns before last week's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “What I saw in the car that day, that will stay with you,” Schrader said in his first extensive interview about the wreck. Starting today and continuing for eight days, FanHouse is proud to present a series entitled Ten Years After ? Schrader's next thought was to go to Michael Waltrip, who was celebrating his first win in Victory Lane, unaware of Earnhardt's death. There’s nothing Ken Schrader can do to erase the image he has of seeing Dale Earnhardt dead in his car. "He knows things can happen in a race car," Ann Schrader said. . Earnhardt later told Schrader how Dorothy had been homesick. How would Earnhardt's death to affect him? "I didn't know what the final deal was, so I just told him it was big and Dale was in trouble," Schrader said. Schrader couldn't avoid hitting Earnhardt's car, tagging him in the passenger side. Southern California Edison says its equipment may be to blame. "Dale said he just had to get her up in his lap and just hug on her awhile until she got over it," Schrader said. "Kenny's always going to be doing that, even when he's grey and in a wheelchair. A new teammate of Johnny Benson, Schrader has had to relocate his own shop during the season in the aftermath of the Earnhardt accident. It is all here. Dale Earnhardt Sr. was a famous US racing car driver who died in a crash on the last lap of the annual Daytona 500, the biggest race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, on 18 February 2001, aged 49. There's nothing Ken Schrader can do to erase the image he has of seeing Dale Earnhardt dead in his car. He leaned into Earnhardt's window ready to commiserate with the seven-time champ on their misfortune but also to congratulate his good friend on Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s 1-2 finish in the Daytona 500. On his way, Schrader was stopped by a TV crew and asked about Earnhardt. and it reflected the fact that during his amazing career, the sport had grown from its regional roots into a major national sport, in good measure because of his exploits. Schrader was running in the top 10 that day, battling a pack of cars hot on Earnhardt's bumper when The Intimidator made contact with Sterling Marlin and his car went shooting up the high banking into the Turn 4 wall. Schrader had to talk to his 11-year-old daughter, a fan of The Intimidator and friend of Earnhardt's daughter, Taylor. "I remember the first day we showed up in Charlotte, we had a mobile home and the electricity wasn't even turned on yet and Earnhardt came over and he said, 'What do you need? I'm wondering what exactly you think Ken Schrader seen right before this photo was taken (when he approached Earnhardt's car and started frantically waving for emergency personnel)? Ken was involved in the wreck that took Dale’s life, and he was the first person to run to Dale’s car after the crash. "So it was hard for her, she had a lot of questions and a lot of concern for Taylor.". After the two cars slid down the track and onto the grass, Schrader rushed over to check on his friend.

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