BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — Sprint car driver Justin Henderson posted a pair of victories on Sunday.
First, he attended his sister’s wedding in Minneapolis, then he earned a track championship at Huset’s Speedway. But, he couldn’t have done it without the help of a stranger.
Justin Henderson notched his fifth win of the season Saturday at Huset’s Speedway, but it wasn’t enough to secure the season championship.
He had a decision to make for Sunday. Win a track title or attend his sister’s wedding.
“When my sister said that her wedding was on September 26th, I said ‘oh it’s Cheater’s Day, I can miss that and we’ll be just fine, but it turned out that it ended up being a points race,” sprint car driver Justin Henderson said.
He settled on option “C”, do both.
Late Saturday, a mutual friend introduced Henderson to racing fan Dave Jones.
“A friend of mine contacted me and told me that he knew a pilot and at this time I had no idea who Dave Jones was,” Henderson said.
“He said do you mind if I have Justin give you a call, so at 1:30 a.m. I’m on the phone with Justin talking about making plans for the next day,” Race fan and pilot Dave Jones said.
After flying to Minneapolis, Henderson attended the 4:00 wedding and then the race was on to get back to Brandon.
“This was around 5:15 that we took off and hot laps start at 6:00 and it was an hour-and-45-minute flight,” Jones said.
Jones says they battled a head wind on the flight home.
“As the plane got lighter, we kept burning fuel, the plane got lighter, we kept going faster and faster, we’re checking our watches,” Jones said.
Henderson wasted no time once they touched down.
“We got back and he said do you mind if I jump out with the plane still running and I said go ahead, go, just stay clear of the prop,” Jones said.
The final leg of the journey was the ride to Brandon.
“Justin’s in the back seat putting on his fire suit and he got here and he told me there were only three or four cars left to qualify when he got here,” Jones said.
Henderson hopped in his car, qualified, finished third in the feature, and won the season championship.
After celebrating his second 410 track championship here in victory lane, Henderson signed Saturday’s trophy and gave it to Jones.
“He really made my sister happy and he’ll never really get to see her face or understand that appreciation but that was probably the biggest win of the day was to be able to be there for that,” Henderson said.
Thanks to a stranger.
“A little over 24 hours I’ve known Justin, but I’ve gained a new friend and I think he’s gained a new fan,” Jones said.
Jones got his pilot’s license while attending college at SDSU. He says it’s a hobby that he continues to love to this day.