I left the office and headed over to the NASCAR Cafe. The event was supposed to be from 6-8. I got there about 5:30 and there was already a line that extended into the parking lot, and the line was moving. Rusty was obviously already signing autographs inside. As it turned out, I don't know when he started signing autographs, but he ended at about 7:30. The line of autograph seekers had emptied by that time, so it wasn't like he left any fans disappointed.
I actually went through the line three times in those two hours, because Rusty was only signing two or three items per person. Most of the fans were really good about that -- fans that brought items for signatures only presented a few at a time. Several people went through the line multiple times like I did. One of the people I ended up going through the lines multiple times with ended up getting nine items autographed, including a couple of model cars as well as some small posters. The next to the last time through, he joked with Rusty that he had almost finished getting all of the autographs he wanted -- that he had only one more trip through the line to go. Rusty laughed and said that he'd see him again next time through.
Rusty was really nice about posing for pictures, too. I got one of the other people in line to take a picture of me with Rusty while he signed some of my cards. We'll see how that picture turns out when I get it developed. I also took pictures of one of the other guys in line. Rusty would always pause from autographing an item to look up and smile when someone was getting their picture made.
All in all, it was a lot of fun. I've met several NASCAR drivers at autograph signing events, and I think that Rusty ranks right up in the top of great guys to give signatures at these events. I thanked him for coming out and told him that I thought it was great that drivers made themselves so accessible to the fans at events like this. He smiled and said that he loved doing it.
I'll have to keep my eyes and ears open for future autograph opportunities. I wouldn't have heard about this one if mlsmithjr hadn't mentioned it to me after seeing an in-store promotion while eating there this weekend. It's been several years since I did any NASCAR autograph hounding, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. It's as much fun chatting with other race fans as it is chatting with the driver and getting autographs.