Fixing lunch in her motor coach on Saturday afternoon, Nancy, 37, doesn't seem worried.
Her husband, a veteran driver mired in a mediocre season, is off at practice, while Jarett, 8, and Olivia, 6, do crafts at the kitchen table. Nancy grew up just three miles from the Indy 500 racetrack, but she didn't follow racing until she began dating John, a high-school classmate from a famed family of racers (Mario is his uncle; Michael his cousin).
He says Jarett and Olivia have some sense of the risks, especially since his teammate Adam Petty's death last May, though they may not realize it could happen to him. On Friday night the kids sleep over with other drivers' children.
"Why prepare them for something that's going to happen to everyone someday? Later they attend a birthday party at Motor Reaching Outreach, NASCAR's traveling ministry, whose trailer serves as a drivers' community center.
Earnhardt was the fourth driver to die in just nine months, fueling new concerns over racing safety that cloud even jubilant moments like Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s triumph at Daytona this month.As the TV replays the accident, John, 38, comes in from practice.He's lived with the risks not only as a driver, but as a family member, recalling the devastating 1969 crash that forced his father, Aldo, into retirement. "Instead they spend time trying to make life on the road as routine as possible.Meanwhile, Jarett watches from the motor coach (the nanny will click off the TV if there's an accident), and Olivia joins 21 other drivers' kids at Bible study.The kids watch Jesus multiply fish on a TV screen, then they pass around Fruit Roll-Ups while cars roar in the distance.