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By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 13, 1998 12:00 AM
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Race car legend Dale Earnhardt’s family bid farewell to the fallen driver in a private ceremony in his hometown of Kannapolis, N.C., Thursday, while the NASCAR community on Tuesday held its own brief and solemn tribute to the driver known The Intimidator. The Kannapolis service was private and for relatives only. At the family’s request, the exact site of Earnhardt’s final resting place is to remain confidential. “They’re in a state of shock,” family minister Max Helton told PEOPLE. “His son (Dale, Jr., who was also in the tragic race that took his father’s life) is taking it very difficult. He does not feel it is his fault, but he’s hurting very badly.” Earnhardt, 49, was killed Sunday on the last turn of the last lap in Florida’s Daytona 500 after he slammed into a concrete wall. At the NASCAR tribute in Charlotte, N.C., drivers, crew members dressed in black, friends and sponsors gathered with Earnhardt’s family to say goodbye. The only speakers to address the 2,500 invited guests were two ministers, reports the Associated Press. Longtime friend Randy Owen, of the country band Alabama, performed his acoustic guitar and sang. At the end of the service, Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa, walked to the front of the church, turned toward the crowd and blew two kisses. “Thank you, thank you,” she whispered.