FORT WORTH, Texas — Around 250,000 people are expected to visit Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. The track is hosting the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.
Friday evening kicks off the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Vankor 350. Among the dozens racing is a hometown driver, Jesse Iwuji.
Iwuji, 31, is racing for the first time on his home track. Originally from Carrollton, this will also be the first time his parents are watching him compete.
He played football at Hebron High School.
"I'm used to playing football here on Friday nights in high school," Iwuji said. "Now I'm actually racing on a Friday night here."
He's come full circle.
But beyond being a hometown hero, Iwuji is also a national hero. He is an Officer in the United States Navy, the first to race in NASCAR.
"It's been really cool using this platform to promote the military, promote our service members and everything they do for our country," he said.
On one side of his helmet is an image of Iwuji in a Navy football uniform. On the other side is an image of a ship he was stationed on. Iwuji said his football and military experience brought him to where he is in his NASCAR career today.
"I'm looking to continue, to keep running and racing. And the goal is to make it all the way to the cup series eventually so I could race at the top level of NASCAR," he said.
Iwuji is most looking forward to his hometown fans cheering him on at Texas Motor Speedway.