Photo by Leeroy Henry
Less than three weeks ago, Josh Henry had no idea that he would be in victory lane during an official NASCAR event. Watching Brad Keselowski claim his trophy after winning Saturday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway was just one of the many perks Josh and his family enjoyed last weekend as honorary guests.
“It was a really awesome experience,” said Josh. “Everything I got to do was way more than I could ask for.”
Josh’s interactive weekend with his most beloved professional sport featured an inside look at pit road, conversations with accomplished NASCAR employees and photo shoots with some of his favorite race cars.
Josh was joined by his parents, LeeRoy and Chris, as they arrived in Ft. Worth late Friday night. The Henry family kicked off their memorable weekend on Saturday morning, making a quick stop at the venue’s souvenir shop. They were then able to meet a couple of the people who helped make their experience possible. Josh had the opportunity to personally thank Jaime Carlin, marketing sales director of Texas Motor Speedway, and her assistant Megan Smock.
Carlin and Smock were the main parties responsible for putting together NASCAR’s generous gift to Josh. After CHS career readiness assistant Julia Schafer posted a message to the venue’s website, Carlin quickly responded and offered to receive the family for last weekend’s race.
TMS officials then took the Henrys on a tour of the complex, allowing Josh to get up close and personal with the sport by getting a peak at pit road during a live event. The next part of the tour took them to the press box, where Josh had a lengthy conversation with NASCAR announcer and producer Brad Gillie. He gave Josh some insider tips on how to land a career covering the sport he’s most passionate for. Gillie went over the type of schooling required to land a NASCAR broadcasting gig and even gave Josh some advise on how to cover a live race.
“That talk really made me think that it’s something I want to do,” said Josh. “That would be an awesome job to have.”
Josh also roamed through the media room, as various sports journalists worked on their weekend coverage, while others interviewed drivers.
The interaction continued into Sunday, as Josh was given a VIP pass to a pre-race driver’s meeting. While there, Josh met and took a photo with automotive designer Chip Foose. He later came across racing team owner and former NFL coach Joe Gibbs. The former Super Bowl champion also took a picture with Josh, adding to the collection of memories.
Josh and his family made one final stop before heading to their seats for the start of the race. They were allowed into the pit road area and Josh captured some photos alongside some of the top race cars in the sport.
Josh was sure to get a picture with Matt Kenseth’s #18 car. Kenseth has taken the pole position as Josh’s favorite NASCAR driver. Although Jimmy Johnson ultimately won the Sprint Cup race, Josh was contempt with Kenseth’s fifth-place finish.
“I was pretty happy with the results,” said Josh. “It was a great way to end an amazing weekend.”
While Josh’s much anticipated weekend is now over, he’ll always cherish the experience as a special guest at a live NASCAR race.
“That was a once in a lifetime deal,” said Josh. “There were a lot of great moments packed into two days. That’s not something that many 18-year-old high school seniors get a chance to do.”