From the military to the racetrack

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:46 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Mother’s Day weekend is over, but for one NASCAR driver and Naval Lieutenant Commander, he has many reasons to cherish his mother every day.

This week on the Inside Lane, Andrew Gorton talked with NASCAR driver and Naval Officer Jesse Iwuji who has taken a non-traditional approach to the track thanks to lessons learned from his family.

“Most people who get into racing start at six, seven or eight years old in go karts. I didn’t start until I was about 26 years old. I had just come off of a deployment with the Navy, so to come off of a war ship, driving warships, to now basically driving race cars starting at the late model level, working my way up to the NASCAR K&N series and the ARCA series and now the national series in NASCAR, it took a lot of grind to find the resources, time, money. All the while doing that, still serving in the U.S. military,” said Iwuji.

Jesse learned some of that grind from the military, but also learned a lot from his mother.

Enderline grew up in Nigeria before moving to the United States and has always relied on her faith to guide her and her family.

“I personally come from a very poor family and then I worked my way up. Growing up having opportunities to come to this country of the United States, I ended up having all of my children. My position, my poverty actually made me to learn a lot. I use it and tell it to them that because I was poor, I don’t want them to be poor. I taught them how to work hard, how to fend for themselves and they grew up like that,” said Jesse’s mother Enderline.

From becoming a Naval officer, playing football for the Naval academy to driving on the track, Jesse has taken advantage of the life lessons instilled in him by his mother.

That hard work ethic has led Jesse to drive for and co-own a new NASCAR Xfinity Series team with Emmitt Smith,

“He was somebody I looked up to on the football field, so I wore his number. I had no clue that twenty years later I would be partnering with him on starting a race team in NASCAR,” said Iwuji.

To hear the full interview with Jesse and his mother, search for the Inside Lane where you listen to podcasts or right here.

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