CONCORD, N.C. — Summer typically consists of swimming, beach trips, and family barbecues. On a late June day, a group of high school students took a moment away from the standard summer scene to experience their possible future with NASCAR.
Twenty-two young NASCAR fans, encompassing all regions of the nation, traveled to the Leavine Family Racing headquarters in Concord, North Carolina, for Camp 95. Handpicked, these students came to Camp 95 on a quest to learn more about the sport, and to get a first-hand look at the roles they’ve dreamed about fulfilling in the racing industry.
LFR introduced Camp 95 in 2015 as a contribution to NASCAR’s youth movement. For two days, participants went behind-the-scenes to explore the various facets of the motorsports industry, learning about everything from team operations and engineering to marketing and partnerships.
The campers displayed a privy knowledge of NASCAR, even reminding guest speaker Alan Cavanna of FOX Sports about the role the ‘Cars’ movie series has played in the sport.
One participant came from as far as Minnesota, an area more connected to hockey rinks than race tracks. Fifteen-year-old Jack Bauerle from Farmington, Minnesota said his liking of NASCAR is family-rooted.
“My family is from Michigan, and some people in my family raced with Roush engines,” Bauerle said.
“So that’s where it started, but it kind of died down when my family moved to Minnesota until about four years ago when I watched a race at Daytona.”
Bauerle aspires to be a NASCAR driver, with a back-up plan in engineering, while another camper uses social media to just stay abreast of everything NASCAR.
Makenna Isinghood, 17, was one of two girls at Camp 95. She follows nearly every racing team on Twitter.
“I’m a huge fan,” Isinghood said. “My dad forced me to go to a race one time, and I just fell in love with it,” she said laughingly. “Every weekend I watch it.”
Isinghood originally aspired to be the next Miss Sprint Cup and now her career desires are still cemented in stock car auto racing.
“Anything just in marketing, social media, just anything that involves NASCAR I would love to do,” Isinghood said.
Camp 95 was an opportunity for these participants to see NASCAR beyond the spectators’ view and a guide to help them make plans for entering the racing industry. However, the young fans didn’t leave without coming face-to-face with a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver.
Michael McDowell, driver of the No. 95 LFR Chevrolet, dropped by to not only sign autographs and talk about life in the fast lane, but to leave campers with some insight into building a future with NASCAR.
“There’s not one clear path that you just do this and you’ll make it. But, if you surround yourself around the sport and people in the sport, it will create opportunities,” McDowell said.