It’s hard to believe it has been 11 years since we lost Darrell. I still think of him almost daily, and wonder what might have been had it not been for that fateful day. I’m sure Darrell would still be racing, and I know he’d have a few Top Fuel Championships by now. But more than that, I also know he would have made many brighter days for his fans with that big Texas grin, he always cared about his fans. To the Russell Family, know my thoughts are with you and that Darrell will never be forgotten.
It was 1991 when my son and I first met the Russell family at the divisional points race in Memphis. A friendship developed with them that extends to this day. I remember Darrell and I would talk on the phone after each race to see how he and Chris had done. I remember when they won TAD at Indy. What a special time. I remember how happy Darrell was when he called me to tell me that he had been hired to drive Joe Amato’s Top Fuel car. I remember when he won his very first professional race. He was on cloud 9. I remember the Saturday at St. Louis where he qualified #1 and set a new track record. As we were leaving that night we shook hands and hugged one another, commenting that we would see one another at Memphis in about a month. I remember watching the race on TV Sunday and seeing Darrell crash. I remember seeing the tire blow out and causing the crash. He’s alright, I thought. I remember the shock when they announced that he did not survive. I realized then that we had lost one of the most special persons that I have ever known. My life is much richer having known him. Rest in peace, my friend.
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