The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

August 20, 2013

Fan's faves cover many areas of interest

But NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt is top in her heart

DANVILLE — Pam Shaw loves the “Young and the Restless” so much she records the soap opera every day and watches it every night without fail.

“I started watching that show when it first started 40 years ago, and I have rarely missed an episode,” she said.

She also loves music. That love affair started with Elvis, like it did for so many young girls who grew up with his music and movies.

She loves the more traditional sound of country music, too, and Conway Twitty, in particular. In the split second of silence after Twitty’s introduction and before he started his first song on stage in Danville a couple of decades ago, Shaw yelled from the front row, “I love you Conway!” He looked down and said, “I love you, too, darlin’!” He then went on to start his show.

During the years she’s been in several fan clubs, including Conway’s, the Oak Ridge Boys, and K.T. Oslin. She has pictures, autographs and memorabilia from each of them and other stars she’s seen perform and met.

When it comes to being a fan of someone or something, there’s one who stands out.

Shaw said she had always loved stock car racing, but in the late 1970s her attention focused on Ralph Dale Earnhardt.

“There was just something about him — the way he carried himself, the way he always loved his fans, the tough competitor that he was on the track. Dale Earnhardt just made you want to watch him drive, and watch him win,” she said.

“It just seemed like NASCAR became more exciting and came alive when he got involved. It was like he made the other drivers try harder, too.”

Friends and family knew not to call when NASCAR was on TV. If they forgot, they would get a quick, “I’ll call ya back when the race is over!” Traveling to the track was always a treat for her, too.

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