The news hit
"David was the one writer who I felt I had to actually win the respect of," Johnson told me over the phone Tuesday afternoon. "And man, he didn't give it to me. I had to earn it. And it was very, very hard. All the drivers read him."
Indeed, as my friend, ESPN.com writer
I haven't talked to
My own experience with Poole is a little like Jimmie Johnson's. When I started covering the sport in 2001, Poole was professional towards me, but hardly warm. But then, as we started seeing each other in places like Martinsville, Va., and Bristol, Tenn., and Homestead, Fla., we became friends, if for no other reason than it seemed like every track PR department seated the writer from the
And whenever I asked Poole a question, he would always -- always! -- stop writing, consider what I was asking, and then give a thoughtful response. Just three weeks ago I queried him about
I chatted with my buddy
Indeed he was. A four-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association's