Royals manager, Ned Yost, recounts Dale Earnhardt’s final hunting trip.
Most would question how the Royals manager knew Dale Earnhardt, but it’s actually a pretty interesting story.
Yost has had a pretty varied career path; he’s been a manger, rehydration engineer, and even a taxidermist. Obviously the baseball career has been the most promising. But the nine races that he was on Dale Earnhardt’s team were enough for a lifetime of stories and one of the most important friendships of his life.
“Dale Earnhardt was my best friend; one of my best friends for a long, long time,” Yost told Nascar.
Here’s a hunting story about Yost and Earnhardt.
The year before (Dale) died, I would always try to make the Atlanta race and we’d go hunting after. I have a million (Dale hunting stories). The best one was our very last hunting trip together.
I was sitting at home watching the (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards). He finished second. At the end of Dale’s speech, I was sitting downstairs in my den all by myself watching the banquet, at the end of the speech, he said, ‘I’ll see y’all later, I’m going hunting’ and I laughed and said ‘Ha ha, I’m going with ya!
I flew to Iowa the next day and Dale flew in the next day and he got there before me. I came in and I sat down at the table and Dale had gone to town. When he got back, I was talking to Don Kisky (of TV show “Whitetail Freaks”) and I could hear Dale come in and he came in through the front door, walked to the living room, came to the kitchen where we were sitting. He was behind me and put his arms around me and kissed me on the cheek, so I hugged his head; gave him a big hug. We just had a great time.
In the middle of that, there was a snow storm. And it snowed 16 inches and Dale was supposed to take off and go do a sponsorship deal for Budweiser and we kept trying to tell him, ‘Dale, 16 inches of snow, you can’t go. You have to stay here.’ One of the guys we were with was Bill Jordan, the hunting guy. He kept saying ‘You can’t go; you can’t go. Too much snow.’ Dale got upset, right? He started screaming at Bill; ‘I got deals I gotta go do!’ You could tell it got a little awkward in there.
Bill sat back and all of a sudden it got real quiet. I said ‘HEY!’, real loud. I looked at Dale and said ‘You know, the only reason that he’s saying that; there’s only one reason. We don’t want you to go, man. We love you. You know what? We love you and don’t want you to go. We love you.’
He got the biggest smile on his face when we told him that we loved him. Bill sat in the corner going, ‘Well, I don’t feel the love.’
When Dale took off, that was the last time I saw him. I had talked to him earlier that day (of the 2001 Daytona 500) and told him that if he won, I was coming to spend the night with him, or if one of his cars won.
After that, the one thing that gave me any peace at all was that I got the opportunity before that happened to tell him that I loved him. So that was our best hunting trip.”