Fans pay tribute to Earnhardt at Sears Point Raceway

SONOMA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2001) - More than 500 people braved thunderstorms and a brief period of hail early Thursday morning at Sears Point Raceway to celebrate the life of Dale Earnhardt, who was tragically killed on Sunday during a last-lap ...

SONOMA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2001) - More than 500 people braved thunderstorms and a brief period of hail early Thursday morning at Sears Point Raceway to celebrate the life of Dale Earnhardt, who was tragically killed on Sunday during a last-lap accident at the Daytona 500.

Race fans flocked to Sears Point Raceway to watch the two-hour tribute broadcast live on FOX Sports Net. The tribute included the 30-minute memorial service from Calvary Church in North Carolina.

The service at Sears Point Raceway included an eight-foot-by-four-foot poster board that was signed by race fans and will be shipped to Dale Earnhardt Inc. Fans also left Dale Earnhardt caps, pictures, flowers and notes on a memorial table that was set up just outside the driver's lounge. The table will remain outside the driver's lounge for fans who would like to pay tribute.

Tina Kollmann, from Raceway Ministries, led the Sears Point Raceway congregation in prayer following the two-hour broadcast.

"I lost a friend from college a couple of years ago. All my friends who knew him were in Texas and there was no one here to grieve with me," Kollmann said. "I feel this allowed the fans who loved Dale Earnhardt a place to come together with others who felt the same and could share their sorrow."

In other news, Sears Point Raceway and Finish Line Events are honoring the memory of Dale Earnhardt by contributing all proceeds from the sale of his souvenirs this season to Speedway Children's Charities. All donations will be made in the name of the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion. Finish Line Events oversees all souvenir sales for Sears Point Raceway as well as all six facilities that comprise Speedway Motorsports Inc.

More than $5,000 in merchandise was sold alone during the two-hour tribute Thursday at Sears Point Raceway.

- John Cardinale

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt