Dale Earnhardt Jr. shares a heartbreaking memory of his dad

FILE - This Feb. 21, 2001, file photo shows Dale Earnhardt, left, and his son Dale Earnhardt, Jr., watching from the pit area at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Roush Fenway Racing's seamless reaction in the wake of team owner Jack Roush's recent plane crash highlighted a relatively new concern for NASCAR teams: having a succession plan in place just in case the unthinkable happens to a team's leader. Roush and Hendrick Motorsports have shown that they can stay strong in the face of catastrophe, but the gradual downfall of Dale Earnhardt Inc. provides a cautionary tale. (AP Photo/Amy Conn, File)

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Ever since the moment Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost his dad, Dale Earnhardt, on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, he has held memories close to his heart. Memories of the man he was, the man he could have been and the man who so many NASCAR fans to this day still miss.

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But on March 5, even Dale was overcome by a memento of his dad.

In an Instagram post, Dale Jr. shared a picture of a piece of paper that not only held his autograph, but also held the autograph of his dad and his grandfather. “I signed this for a fan Saturday,” he wrote. “Also has original Ralph and Dale Sr. autographs. I don’t think the three of us are on a single item until now. Very emotional.”

The handwritten piece was just another part of an emotional weekend for Dale, who was racing in Atlanta and already dealing with the death of his crew chief Greg Ives’ dear mother, who passed away from an undisclosed illness.

https://twitter.com/NascarWorldNews/status/838765684805025797

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To recognize her passing, Dale Jr. rode with a number of memories in his car, including a bible verse that wife Amy shared on her Twitter page.

“@DaleJr’s verse today @amsupdates,” she wrote. “Please keep Greg Ives & family in your prayers. #SteviesVerse.”

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