As a TV Photojournalist in here in NASCAR country, NO, NOT CHARLOTTE but here in the Triad where you will find a myriad of NASCAR race shops and racer's homes, I have had the opportunity to work with most of the NASCAR teams in the area at one time or another.
One of my favorite memories, however, is when I flew to Miami for the last race of 2003.
The event wasn't only the last Winston Cup Race of the year with a tight points race in which Tony Stewart ultimately came out victorious, but it was the last race for a long time veteran of pit road, Danny 'Chocolate' Myers.
For the race at Miami Chocolate was the gasman for the number 31 car driven by Robby Gordon. But from the early 80s to February of 2001 he was the fueler for Dale Earnhardt. After Dale's death Chocolate stayed with the GM Goodwrench team and new driver Kevin Harvick and then later swicthed over to the other Robby Gordon's RCR ride.
Choc' was Dale's alter ego. As much as Dale was a son of a bitch, Chocolate was the humorous, personable, teddy bear. He had a reputation for a long time of being a bad ass, but around the fans he was the one that people could get to when Dale wasn't available.
But after 2 full seasons of fueling the speeding stock cars without Dale, Chocolate decided to retire from jumping the wall.
I flew down on the team plane, stayed with them at the Hotel and traveled to and from the track with the team. It was a great trip.
The 3 minute story that came out of this 2 day journey was full of emotion about a lost hero, but with no regrets about calling it a career.
Chocolate is still busy at RCR however, he is the Director of Safety and the currator the the RCR Racing Museum.