NASCAR writer, broadcaster David Poole dies

CHARLOTTE (WBTV) - A prominent NASCAR writer who most recently worked for the Charlotte Observer died Tuesday.

David Poole, the Observer's NASCAR reporter, died after signing off from his radio show Tuesday morning.

Poole, who was published across the country as a writer in the "That's Racing" section syndicated by the Observer, died after an apparent heart attack just after 11 a.m.

Poole also maintained a blog called "Life in the Turn Lane" and was in his 13th season covering NASCAR for the Observer.

According to his blog, he also hosted "The Morning Drive" weekdays from 7 to 11 a.m. weekdays on Sirius NASCAR Radio.

Poole was a four-time winner of the NMPA's George Cunningham Award as that organization's writer of the year.

He was born in Gastonia and resided in Stanfield, near Charlotte.

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(NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France released the following statement.)

"The NASCAR community is stunned and saddened by the loss of David Poole. David was as passionate about NASCAR as anyone and had very definitive opinions about the sport. He served the industry, and most importantly the fans, through his reporting and commentary in the Charlotte Observer and Sirius Satellite Radio. Our thoughts and prayers go out to David's family and friends. He will be missed."

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(WBTV's David Whisenant met Poole on many occasions and wrote the following.)

I am absolutely in shock over the death of Charlotte Observer NASCAR writer David Poole.  I just had lunch with him a couple weeks ago at Lowe's Motor Speedway.  We were lamenting the economic problems that have beset journalism.

Along with the jokes, David showed a serious and compassionate side.  He was concerned about his coworkers who were in danger of losing their jobs.  He was concerned that talented people would lose the ability to exercise their craft.  He was like that.  He genuinely cared about other people.

His last story bore witness to his priorities.  Whether you agreed with it or not, David wrote that changes had to be made at Talladega or someone would lose their life.  It wasn't just a story about who crossed the start/finish line first.

Press conferences will never be the same.  In most every venue we all deferred to David to ask the first question.  That was a sign of respect, but also our admission that he was going to ask the question we all wanted answered anyway.

The bottom line for me is that nobody did it better than David.  His insight was deep and he had enough appreciation of racing history to see the bigger picture and not get overly excited about the scandal of the day.

I will be praying for David's family.  I know that was a source of joy for him.  Personally and professionally, he will be missed.