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Thousands Turn Out for Earnhardt Concert

June 30, 2003

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Thousands of fans turned out for the inaugural Dale Earnhardt Tribute concert, honoring the late NASCAR champion, at the Daytona International Speedway.

A massive thunderstorm interrupted the Speedway’s first-ever major concert midway Saturday, but the festival-like event resumed after a 45-minute pause and continued in light rain.

As the country and rock artists performed, videos of Earnhardt’s racing feats played behind them on massive video screens.

Earnhardt was killed in a crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Teresa Earnhardt spoke about her late husband’s ``relentless″ style of racing and one video showed the seven-time NASCAR champion talking about his love of racing.

The concert raised money for the Dale Earnhardt Legacy Foundation, founded by Teresa Earnhardt to support various charities. Tickets ranged from $55 to $1,000.

Leigh Ann Thompson, 32, and Lisa Phalen, 38, drove 13 hours from their West Virginia homes for the concert but their car didn’t make the whole trip.

``We had to push it into the hospital parking lot and walk the last half mile,″ Phalen said.

When asked what singer or band _ Sheryl Crow, Brooks and Dunn, Alabama or one of the other bands _ spurred them to make the road trip, each joyously shouted ``Earnhardt!″

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