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April 20, 2001|SHAV GLICK

What: "True Life: I Drive Race Cars"

When: Saturday, 1 p.m., MTV

Although this documentary of NASCAR Winston Cup drivers includes appearances by Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Steve Park, Matt Kenseth and others, the heart of the program involves Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his feelings toward his late father, a seven-time champion and the sport's greatest hero when he was killed on the final turn of the final lap of the Daytona 500 in February.

The film follows the younger Earnhardt through last season and the start of this season, including the memorable moment when he won NASCAR's all-star race, The Winston, and was hugged and congratulated in the winner's circle by his father, a moment Dale Jr. calls the highlight of his father-son racing experience. There are also poignant scenes of little Junior tagging along at various race tracks, including one when he was asked if he wanted to be a race car driver like his daddy. His shy reply is priceless.

Dale Jr., a fun-loving young man for whom racing was a game before the accident, also discusses his feelings today as he carries on the family tradition in a more serious tone as a third-generation driver and the family patriarch.

In an unusual recognition of the fan support given Winston Cup by stock car enthusiasts who have made it America's fastest growing sport, there are segments showing the fervor of fans that approaches a religious experience.

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