When we lost Earnhardt, all real race fans grieved. We lost a huge part of our sport.
Love him or hate him, we all still miss him. Jimmy rigged up a tribute that he only displayed at the Rock & Talladega, which everyone knows is the heart of Earnhardt country.
Big Black Light 3
The year we lost Earnhardt, Jimmy created something of a memorial to Dale. He made a 5 foot tall number 3 out of pipes. He then wrapped a strand of black lights that are the large Christmas bulb type around it. On top of the motor home it went when we were at the Rock or Talladega.
At Rockingham, from US 177 you could see the big black light 3. Drunks ever where sang our praises for giving them a landmark to get home by. One guy told us he saw it through the fog as soon as he rounded turn 4 heading home to his camper. The parking lot attendants told us that they loved it because they were able to tell campers coming in where to head. Everyone within a mile radius could see it. Everyone that is except for our 2 buddies, Frankie & Jayme, who came up to meet us at the track in the fall of 2001. They wandered around the back stretch for hours looking for us.
When they found us I asked "didn't you see the number 3 in black lights"?
Frankie replied "do you know how many number 3's are here?"
"None that are in a black light motif" I replied.
When I went with Jayme to get their car, he couldn't believe it. Directly out of the windshield of their parked car was a clear view of the big black light 3.
All night drunks stumbled by thanking God they found the big black 3 because they knew they were almost home. We were accused of getting all those drunks to come by and say that. We rag those 2 guys when ever we are at the Rock about the BIG BLACK 3.
The big black 3 hopefully will make another appearance at the track again to honor ole Ironhead.