NASCAR’s loss of Dale Earnhardt on Sunday (Feb. 18) transcended the racing world to stun the country music community. Earnhardt, who died in a crash that took place in the final lap of the Daytona 500 race, was a friend to several country artists. Earnhardt played a Kix Brooks lookalike character in the 1997 Brooks & Dunn video “Honky Tonk Truth.” Personal friends with Earnhardt for years, Brooks had this to say about the racer’s death. “I’ve just lost a good buddy. Our hearts go out to the family. It’s just a really sad time,” Brooks said in a press release. “I remember coming in from a day of deep sea fishing [with Earnhardt]. We were both worn out and all of our lines were up. A couple of marlins cleared the boat in front of us and Dale had to throw all the lines back in. Those marlins are so hard to catch, I was tired and didn’t want to fool with it, but Dale never would let an opportunity pass. And, wouldn’t you know — we caught one! He had a gusto for living life like no one I’ve ever seen or ever will see again.” Longtime racing fan Travis Tritt noted, “Dale Earnhardt was what made NASCAR exciting for me. He was my favorite driver. I had the privilege of meeting him on several occasions and was honored to find out that Dale and his family were fans of my music. He told me that ’I’m Gonna Be Somebody’ was one of his favorite songs. I told him that I only wished I could ’be somebody’ as big to the music world as he was to racing.” A memorial service for Earnhardt will be held at 12 p.m. ET Thursday (Feb. 22) at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. The service will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net.