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"I compare this to the day Elvis died."

- Former NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip on the death of Dale Earnhardt.

Goodbye to a legend

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"Dale, with us always."

That sign outside Daytona International Speedway speaks of the continuing love affair stock car racing has with Dale Earnhardt.

He was killed Sunday in a wreck on the last turn of the last lap of the Daytona 500.

"The Intimidator" won 34 times on Daytona's 2-1/2-mile oval, although it wasn't always easy.

For the first 19 years that he came to the sprawling track, built by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., he won nearly everything - the July Winston Cup race, qualifying races, Busch, and IROC races.

Everything but the Daytona 500 - losing once when he blew a tire after dominating the race for 499 miles. That finally changed in 1998, when Earnhardt gleefully took the checkered flag in NASCAR's Super Bowl - punching his left fist out the window of his famed black No. 3 Chevrolet in triumph and spinning through the grass in a personal victory celebration.

Afterward, he showed a soft side that few knew he possessed.

"This one meant the world to me," Earnhardt said, his eyes shining. "People may think I'm tough, and I don't care - and I am tough - but I'm human, too. I want to win every time I go out there...."

Bonds ponders future

Barry Bonds, the three-time MVP, opened spring training by asking the San Francisco Giants either to begin negotiations on a contract extension or to consider a trade.

Bonds will make $10.3 million this season and is eligible for free agency after the season. He wants to stay in San Francisco and would like an answer from the Giants before the regular season begins.

"If there's dead silence, then I've got an answer," the 36-year-old outfielder said in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"After all I've done for this organization, I should just be told whether I'm going to be back here or not. If I am going to be here, then let's talk about it and let's get it done."

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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