NASCAR lost one of its most independent voices this week. David Poole of the Charlotte Observer and Sirius Radio passed away due to a heart attack on Tuesday. This is a major blow to the NASCAR media community and the sport in general.
My experiences with David were limited, but the opportunities that I did have to speak with him were educational and eye opening.
He was a progressive thinker who was not afraid to challenge NASCAR at the highest levels. David Poole spoke his mind regardless of the potential negative result. That will be very difficult to replace in the echo chamber that is the NASCAR media center.
Many factors come into play for those that cover the sport. One of the strongest factors is simply survival. The desire to continue to work and interview the sport's top athletes has a negative effect on many who try to do the job. Many do not want to “rock the boat” so that they can continue to pursue their own careers. They can’t risk alienating drivers or NASCAR officials with harsh criticism because they might not get an interview the following week. David Poole was never worried about rocking the boat. He was never concerned about anything other than his views as they related to the sport. That will be difficult to replace. If NASCAR wants to continue evolving to the level of other major sports it needs more people like David Poole, not less. David will be missed.