When tickets were released for Dale Earnhardt Jr. autograph session at the NASCAR Hall of Fame I wasn’t sure if I would attend but I decided to reserve my tickets any how. I was able to reserve his tickets as well as tickets for Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman and Chase Elliot. If I was unable to attend I knew there would be fans that I could give the tickets away to. The event was still two weeks away so I had time to decide. It’s 6 hours of driving each way for maybe 30 seconds to visit with the driver. The following week I decided that if my GF wanted to go meet Dale Jr. we would go. I knew that she wouldn’t enjoy a full day of autograph sessions so I gave away my other tickets and we were going to just attend the one Dale Jr. session
She has attended meet and greets for singers: Martina McBride and Olivia Newton-John. These singers spent time talking to her and taking pics with her. The Friday before the event I told her not to expect to much from the autograph session. Usually you get a couple of seconds in front of Dale Jr. while he signs one item and then you are moved along.
We made the long drive Saturday morning and arrived just before the session was entering the theater where the sessions took place. We were in the middle of the line about @100 fans in front of us. As the session progressed I watched as Dale Jr. spent time with everyone. he was smiling, looking each fan, saying “hi” or “thanks” and even more surprising he was taking pics with fans.
As we got into the autograph line I reach into my pocket and I did not have the gift I was going to hand Dale Jr. He is getting into BBQ and I picked up one of the dry rubs that I used on pork. I quickly ran back to my seat, found the rub and got back in line just as my GF was in front of him. She handed him 2 cars to sign and he signed both! Seeing that I had returned she asked if she could get a photo taken. Dale Jr. said “sure”
Then I was next, I had place an old “hero card” down on the table and one of the other drivers was checking it out. I told him that was Dale Jr. when he was a kid. Jr. saw the photo and said: “I was just a kid then”
He then sign his 2014 Daytona 500 win car. Before I left I handed him the dry rub. The label reads: “Rub A Butt”. When Jr. saw the label he said: “What!” I told him it was dry rub for BBQ. He said : “thanks, I’ll try it.”
I know it doesn’t sound like much, but for Dale Jr. that outgoing. He is reserve around new people and being as popular as he is I can understand why. Everyone wants a “piece” of him. He is the main reason why NASCAR is still around. His fans are loyal and dedicated. I am one of them and without us NASCAR would suffer. We are all hoping 2015 continues where 2014 left off with more win this year.