“Giving back to the community is something that is embedded in our race team,” said Bob Leavine, owner of Leavine Family Racing. “Creating the opportunity to open up these students’ minds to all the different career possibilities in NASCAR is extremely rewarding for our team.”
Nineteen high school students from cities across the United States attended the camp, with some traveling from as far as New Mexico, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Florida and New Jersey. Cameron Hawkins, a senior from Louisville, Kentucky, traveled to Mooresville, N.C. for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“The camp was a fantastic experience! It’s hard choosing a favorite part, but I loved talking with Wally Rogers (crew chief) and hearing him explain how the cars work and all of that,” said Hawkins. “Camp 95 helped solidify my decision of what I want to do. This is something I definitely want to pursue and it helped me see how to start out towards it. I saw the camp advertised on the home screen of NASCAR.com, and I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to see what goes on behind-the-scenes in a race shop.”
Hawkins, who has been a race fan his entire life, says just getting to sit and talk with drivers Michael McDowell and Trevor Bayne is an experience he will remember for years to come.
Michael McDowell, driver of the No. 95 Ford Fusion, spoke to the campers about his path to NASCAR and provided encouragement as these students seek our their dreams.
“I’m just really excited and blessed to extend this offer to these students and help them to explore more of the sport than what they see on TV,” said McDowell. “This camp is something the team put together, and it’s a great opportunity for us to give back to the community and help the sport grow. We want Camp 95 to open up these students’ minds to just how big this sport is and all the different career options there are in it. There’s not just one path into the sport and so if we can help these kids see some of the different entry points, I think we are headed in the right direction.”
A LinkedIn group was created to allow the students to remain connected to each other and the camp’s speakers following the event. In addition, one camper will receive the opportunity to shadow a LFR crew member at an upcoming 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup race based on their experiences and feedback at the camp.
“Camp 95 is the first camp of its kind, and the reception it got from the NASCAR community has been tremendous,” said Jeremy Lange, Vice President of Leavine Family Racing. “The team definitely foresees growing it into an annual event and expanding it to include even more speakers and opportunities.”