NASCAR late model driver helps brighten holiday for needy Wisconsin family


Here’s a lovely story out of La Crosse, Wisconsin where recently, one local family in need had their holiday season brightened by a local NASCAR late model driver.

On Friday, Matt Henderson, who competes out of the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, led a caravan of local businesses to the home of five-year-old Kayden Johnson in his No. 33 Chevrolet. The group was there to deliver a variety of gifts and presents to Johnson’s family.

According to the La Crosse Tribune, this is the second year where Henderson’s team has worked with local organizations to ensure that a family’s Christmas wishes come true.

Back in October, Henderson Motorsports contacted the La Crosse School District to identify a needy family with an interest in motorsports. From there, they worked to collect donations from sponsors and other businesses in the area.

Johnson was certainly happy to receive his gifts. But according to the Tribune’s Nathan Hansen, what really made him excited was being able to get inside Henderson’s car.

Here’s an except from Hansen’s heart-warming piece:

For Kayden, that meant presents like a bike, racing flags, board games and new toy cars to add to his growing collection. For the family, that meant food for a Christmas meal, gift cards to grocery stores and restaurants, and other holiday necessities. But what Kayden really enjoyed was getting behind the wheel of Henderson’s number 33 race car.

Shy with the crowd that had formed to celebrate the Christmas donations, Kayden was quiet while he sat on Santa’s lap and opened the first of his presents. But after Henderson let him get behind the wheel of his car, Kayden lit up, beaming a bright smile and playing with the steering wheel, hands at 10 and two.

“Whoo,” Kayden exclaimed, bouncing and skipping back to help take his presents inside after getting to play with a real race car.

Local television station WKBT has video from the special occasion. Below are some photos as well from Henderson Motorsports’ Facebook page: