Country music legend Charlie Daniels died at the age of 83 after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. Multitudes heard the news and headed to social media to pay tribute, including Darrell Waltrip. The longtime NASCAR star sent a tweet remembering his "dear old friend."
"I have a heavy heart today, one of my best friends and a country music legend has passed away, Charlie Daniels was a great guy, l loved him like so many others did, RIP my dear old friend!" Waltrip wrote on Monday afternoon. This message prompted responses from friends and followers alike. Several social media users talked about how Daniels was a "great patriot." Others simply said that God needed a fiddler.
While Daniels was better known as a Nashville Predators fan, he also had ties to NASCAR. He previously took part in a celebrity race but didn't quite reach the same speeds that Waltrip did during his championships seasons. Daniels only topped out at 95 mph, which he called "terrifying."
In addition to taking part in a race, Daniels also played prior to the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2013. He and the Charlie Daniels Band played during the pre-show race, entertaining fans with some of the bigger hits. The country star felt that the trip was fitting considering that he "always wanted to see a Bristol race." Heading to the Tennessee track provided this opportunity.
Reporters asked Daniels at the time if he had a favorite driver. He had several options considering that Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were all in contention for the Cup Series championship. However, Daniels didn't list any of these drivers as his favorite. He just referenced his friendship with Waltrip.
Interestingly enough, the former NASCAR driver made his first start at Bristol Motor Speedway in March 1973. This coincided with a momentous year for Daniels. The late country star released "Uneasy Rider" in 1973, the first major hit of his career. While Daniels experienced success that year, Waltrip actually finished his first Bristol race in last place. Although he did go on to win 12 times at the Last Great Colosseum.
Daniels and Waltrip became household names around the same time, and they went on to become fast friends. Nearly 40 years later, Waltrip is in mourning after Daniels' death. He joined thousands honoring the Hall of Fame singer's memory on Monday afternoon.