David Poole

David Poole, an Observer reporter who became one of country’s leading authorities on NASCAR, died of a heart attack this afternoon. He was 50. Poole had just returned from last week’s race at Talledega. He was at his Stanfield home when the heart attack occurred. His daughter called 911. Emergency crews rushed him to the hospital in Stanly County, where he was pronounced dead. Poole, a Gastonia native, became the Observer’s NASCAR writer 13 years ago. He hosted "The Morning Drive" show weekday mornings on Sirius NASCAR Radio. He was a four-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association’s George Cunningham Award as the organization's writer of the year. “He was the best in his field, there’s no doubt about that,” Observer editor Rick Thames said this afternoon in announcing Poole’s death to a hushed newsroom. Poole’s final column ran the day he died. In it he called the track at Talledega an “anachronism” after a day of dramatic crashes Sunday. “Talk about guys who own their beat, that’s what David did,” said Observer sports editor Mike Persinger.

Published in Charlotte Observer from Apr. 28 to May 3, 2009