CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY, N.C. (WBTV) - We’re excited to introduce you to a sweet 18-year-old student in Stanly County. Anita Stirewalt lives with Down Syndrome.
Despite her challenges, she shines when running track or playing basketball for Special Olympics, but her favorite sport is NASCAR.
That’s why when her fellow students at North Stanly High school asked what her dream sports trip would be, Anita said “To spend a day with Jimmie Johnson!”
Those students, along with Charlotte-based charity Dream On 3, made it all happen in VIP style.
After a jam-packed surprise presentation in the high school stadium, Anita and her family were whisked off in a limousine to meet the superstar driver of car #48.
Winner of seven championships, two Daytona 500s and one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR with 83 total career race wins, Jimmie is as humble and easygoing with Anita as they come.
He gives her a tour of Hendrick Motorsports, and quickly gets her laughing as they recount past races. But that’s not all.
The next day for the All-Star Race, Jimmie comes right over and takes Anita under his wing.
He personally introduces her to former Panthers player Jonathan Stewart, Charlotte Motor Speedway President, Marcus Smith, and Drivers Austin Dillon, William Byron, Chase Elliot, Joey Logano, Bubba Wallace, Clint Boyer, Brad Keslowski, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex and Kyle Busch.
But after this VIP day, with Jimmie giving her a hug in the pit right before the race begins, Anita now says she no longer cheers for anyone but #48, her new friend Jimmie Johnson.
You can see all of our Dream On 3 stories on www.wbtv.com/DreamOn3.