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No one likes to talk about death. No one likes to consider how their life will end or how loved ones will continue to live without them. But there is no doubt that the promise of death allows us to live the best life we can — a life that the world can learn from long after you are gone.

And many of us can learn from the words of the legendary NASCAR team owner Robert Yates.

As fans will recall, Robert passed away from liver cancer last year, leaving countless family, friends and fans to have to live their lives without him. Yet, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Jan. 19, Robert’s words were highlighted in his very own induction speech, read perfectly by friend and fellow NASCAR family member Dale Jarrett.

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“I never prayed to win a race,” Robert wrote in the speech. “I just prayed for the wisdom to help me make good decisions. My creator didn’t always give me what I asked for, but he gave me more than I deserved.”

The speech also allowed Robert to dwell a bit on one of the worst moments of his life – losing driver Davey Allison in 1993. “Losing Davey was painful,” Dale read from Robert’s speech. “We shed a lot of tears and didn’t know how we would move on, but we did.”

But most importantly, the speech allowed Robert to pay tribute to his beloved family members, straight from heaven.

“It’s been 51 years since I took a four‑day leave from the Army and made the best decision of my life: I married Carolyn,” he wrote. “She’s been by my side ever since and has supported me every step of the way. I worked all hours of the day and night, but she never called to say, ‘Get home.’ She let me work. Carolyn, I don’t know where the time has gone, but it seems like yesterday we were in an one‑bedroom apartment trying to make ends meet. You’re the light of my life. You’ve always been there for me, particularly this past year. Your devotion reminded me of our vows: In sickness and in health, and I love you.”

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When the speech was through, there was not a dry house in the house, including Robert’s son Doug.

“Tonight … was the first time I’ve seen it, and it was just typical my dad,” Doug Yates said after the speech was through, according to Motorsport.com. “He’s going to hit on every point and give other people the credit, and it was just so well done. I’m so proud of him. To have Dale deliver it … it was a special—I can’t wait to go watch it again, because, to be honest, my heart was about to jump out of my chest, and I was trying not to cry. And so I need to go watch it again because it was something I was just really trying to get through and be strong.  But I’m really proud.”

It was sad that Robert wasn’t there to celebrate this special night.

But gosh, maybe he was there after all.

Tricia Despres is the contributing editor for Rare Country, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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