Auto racing fans from throughout the country have been paying tribute to Dale Earnhardt in a wide variety of ways since he was killed in the final lap of the Daytona 500 Feb. 18.
Two of them recently came up with a unique way to pay homage: they named a Thoroughbred racehorse in honor of the NASCAR driver who was fondly known by his legion of fans as "The Intimidator." Mark Toothaker and Frank Newman of Van Buren, Arkansas have registered a yearling colt with The Jockey Club and named him D E Intimidator.
The bay colt is by Ordway out of the mare Keen on Gold and -- in an eerie coincidence that neither owner was aware of until it was pointed out to them was foaled on that same date, Feb. 18, a year ago.
"I listened to or watched all of Dale Earnhardt's races and he was always my favorite driver," Toothaker explained. "The sport is really going to miss him and we just thought this would be a nice way to pay tribute to him."
Newman admired Earnhardt's competitive spirit and hopes his equine namesake displays some of it. "He was a heck of a driver, he did all he could to win and we'll be very happy if this horse wins half as many races as Dale did," he said. "We gave the colt this name primarily as a memorial tribute but maybe it will also do some good for our sport if auto racing fans follow this horse when he gets to the races."
D E Intimidator is presently stabled on a farm in Alma, Arkansas and the longtime Thoroughbred owners have yet to decide who will train him when he begins preparing for his racing career next year.