Mo. man receives autograph from NASCAR legend 18 years after requesting it

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KTVI/CNN) – A Missouri man finally received an autograph from NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr., 18 years after requesting it.

Clay Teague went to check his mail Monday only to find a letter with his own handwriting on it.

“When I open the letter, it's a Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR card with his signature on it,” Teague said.

The mystery then started unraveling.

Teague is a collector of cards and coins. Over the years, he has sent cards to athletes for them to sign but had forgotten all the addressees he had mailed.

An inquiry to Earnhardt from 18 years ago somehow got lost along the way.

“Way back in 2002 I sent this card to his garage with an envelope so he could mail it back. Apparently 18 years later, Dale had a chance to sign it and put an extra 18 cents postage because the stamp went up a lot in those 18 years,” Teague said.

Teague said he’s glad he still lives at the same address or he would never have received the card.

He will be watching his mailbox in case another NASCAR card shows up from the past.

Teague will also be watching on Sunday, Feb. 16 when Earnhardt, a two-time Daytona 500 champion, will wave the green flag for the 62nd running of the race.

It’s possible the famed racer is catching up on his mail because he has more time these days. Earnhardt retired from racing at the end of the 2017 season.

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