However, in 1998 I had the opportunity to go to a black tie banquet put on by General Motors while Dale was in town for the race at Michigan. During the banquet Dale spoke to the crowd. He was still nursing the injuries from the big crash at Talledaga and could not sign autographs (caused too much pain in his shoulder.) As part of the program everyone in attendance was able to have their picture taken beside the Goodwrench #3 show car with Dale on your right and Richard Childress on your left. I shook their hands and was VERY nervous! I could not even speak to him! I had my picture with him and then stepped aside. My father went up next for his picture. After the picture, my father showed Dale a picture of me in victory lane. Dale asked who the driver was. My father pointed to me. Dale gave me a big smile and a thumbs up as he said "Good job! Keep on winning those races!" That was very cool! In so many photo's and video of Dale we see him giving the thumbs up. I can proudly say that in my lifetime I got a "thumbs up" from Dale Earnhardt! I will never forget that! The pictures they took were later autographed by Dale and Richard and sent to us in the mail. Rest in peace Dale....you are the man!