Earnhardt fan pays tribute to late racer
LIMITED EDITION Charlie E. Morgan of Quitman stands next to the Monte Carlo SS Dale Earnhardt Signature Edition car he bought Friday from Nelson Hall Chevrolet. Production of the car was limited to 3,333. Photo by Steve Gillespie / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
Feb. 23, 2002
Since the death of Dale Earnhardt a year ago this week, NASCAR hasn't been the same for Charlie E. Morgan of Quitman.
Earnhardt brought Morgan back to the sport of auto racing. Morgan was a race fan who had lost interest until about 1980, when he began to closely follow "The Intimidator."
So on Friday, Morgan bought the first Dale Earnhardt Signature Edition car to roll off the assembly line a black, 2002 Monte Carlo Super Sport with a serial number than ended in "0001."
David Rosenbaum, a sales representative at Nelson Hall Chevrolet the dealership that sold the car said Morgan called from Quitman after seeing the vehicle while driving on Interstate 20/59.
Rosenbaum said Nelson Hall apparently received the first car because it placed its order early. Production was limited to 3,333 cars, complete with Earnhardt's signature and number above the rear fenders.
The sticker price of the car is about $25,000.
Morgan has worked for Georgia-Pacific Corp. in Pennington, Ala., for more than 30 years. Morgan said the company called him Friday and told him they wanted him to go to work.
He had to pay tribute.
Morgan was watching the Daytona 500 last year on Feb. 18 when Earnhardt crashed and was killed.
Morgan said he would like to take his new automobile to car shows so other fans can see it.
Morgan is planning other ways to pay tribute to Earnhardt he has Earnhardt trading cards, die-cast miniatures of Earnhardt's cars and plaques to display in a room of his house.
Morgan and his wife, Brenda, still go to NASCAR races, but he said fans aren't as excited as they used to be.
Now, Morgan is following the career of Dale Earnhardt Jr. though Morgan admits things are not the same. He hopes to see NASCAR break tradition and retire Earnhardt's number.