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DALE EARNHARDT JR: Signing habits & Signature variations

As the 2010 NASCAR season opens this month, I wanted to take time to focus on NASCAR”S multi-time most popular driver and the true face of the sport, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Being the most popular driver in the world”s 2nd most watched sport means that fans clamor for your autograph at every turn. thankfully, Dale Earnhardt Jr is a NASCAR driver. That means that Autographs are a way of life for him.

Dale Jr has ALWAYS been one of the sports best signers. He has litterally signed THOUSANDS of autographs each year since the time that he was a pre-teen. Dale Jr and I are the same age. I have grown up seeing him grow up in this sport. Autographs were just something that not only comes with the sport, it comes with the name Earnhardt.

For many years, if you met Dale Jr at a track or event, you were rewarded with a very nice full signature autograph like this

Early Full Dale Jr signature

This perfect type of full signature autograph was common from the 1980″s until 1998. At that time, Almost overnight, Dale made a stunning change to his signature. What was a fully signed signature, was shortened into this:

Dale’s shortened signature in 1998

This change was one of efficiency, Dale was now driving in the NASCAR Nationwide Series ( then known as the Busch series ). This series meant that Dale was signing hundreds to thousands of autographs each week due to  sponsorship obligations of autograph appearances mixed with track side signings. Dale simply had to change his signature to keep up with the volumes of the demands.

Dale carried this signature variation into the NASCAR Sprint Cup series ( then known as the Winston Cup Series) in 1999. An example of this is here:

1999 Winston Cup signature

Dale maintained this type of signature with slight variations until 2003.  In 2003, Dale literally added a new loop to his signature, What once was a signature that ended with a pronounced R in the name JR, now turned into a reverse loop to the left such as this

Dale Jr signature showcasing the reverse loop in JR

This loop is a variation with a life of it”s own. Sometimes, it is short, sometimes long. Sometimes it flows straight across the signature, sometimes it has an upward angle to it. And sometimes, The signature ends with no loop sich as these signed photos.

Signature with no loop

No loop #2

No loop #3

This signature is mostly what Dale has signed with from 1993 until now in 2010. Even though the signatiure is mostly the same pattern, there are MANY variations. Here are a few perfectly signed items  from 2008 & 2009

2008 Mountain Dew

2009 NAVY Hero Card

2009 AMP 8×10

2008 AMP Hero Card

The previous examples of Dale”s signature showcase very nice signatures with perfect flow and spacing. However, One of the pitfalls of collecting NASCAR autographs is that the drivers are always in a hurry as they rush from spot to spot on a race week-end. Even though they are in a hurry and very busy, drivers like Dale Jr still sign everything that they can. However, this hectic schedule makes for rushed / sloppy signatures. The following images showcase a few of the rushed patterns of Dale”s autograph.

2008 Rushed signature

2008 Rushed Signature

2009 Rushed Signature #1

2009 Rushed signature #2

2009 Rushed signature #3

2009 Rushed signature #4

2009 Rushed signature #5

2009 Rushed signature #6

As you can see, obtaining track side autographs from Dale Jr is a  good way to build a nice autograph collection. Dale is known to take time out of his schedule whenever possible to sign for fans such as he is here at Bristol, TN

Dale signing at Bristol

Now that the 2010 racing season is here, Dale Jr is already back to his autograph signing ways. There are already new products to collect and get signed like the 2010 AMP and National Guard die Cast cars and the 2010 Hero Cards.  Here are two items signed during the 2010 Daytona 500 race week activities.

2010 AMP Hero Card

2010 AMP 1:24 scale Die-cast car

Remember, Dale Jr has also offered official holograms on items that are signed at Dale Jr foundation events and for select retailers. While the holograms are a good way to ensure you are buying an officially signed item, they are NOT given out at EVERY autograph event, nor are they applied to items that are signed at the race track. For more information about these holograms, visit the Autograph Magazine live website and read my blog here :

Look for a more detailed year by year signature studies from me of Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Darrell Waltrip, and others coming soon to the magazine and this site.

Each image shown is my personal property and may not be copied or used by anyone. for more information or permission to use these images please contact me directly at

Masters of Golf: Ralph Guldahl


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