Lynchburg third grader joins NASCAR pit crew for a day

Josh Grandeo, 9, tells teacher he wants to be a pit crew member when he grows up

LYNCHBURG, Va. – “How cool is this? Look at your fancy outfit,” Kirsten Filiberto said to her student Josh Grandeo.

Josh hugged her after finding out she was behind the surprise.

It all started with a picture of Josh dressed in Filiberto’s old college cap and gown--- holding a sign that reads “Future Pit Crew Member.”

Filiberto teaches reading at Paul Munro Elementary School and has her students dress in her cap and gown.

“I’ve never had a student say they wanted to be a pit crew member before,” Filiberto said.

With help from a friend, Filiberto found out pit crew members with Chip Ganassi Racing out of Charlotte, North Carolina wanted to pay the 9-year-old a visit.

Grandeo was ecstatic.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’" Josh said. “...I was like, going crazy and stuff."

Not only did the crew send Josh a recruiting letter to join the team, but they brought in a race car just for him with his name on it.

“Ganassi Racing went above and beyond. They could’ve just sent him a recruiting letter and Josh would have been just as excited,” Filiberto said.

Josh was put to the test. He helped change the tires and even sat in the driver’s seat.

“Really squishy because of the steering wheel,” Josh said when he described sitting in the car.

“I hope this was fun for him. This is only a small part of what he can really see. We’d love to get him down to the shop and show him around,” said Stephen Price, a rear tire changer and Lynchburg native.

“For them to take time out of their busy schedule to come here and share some time with both our sons has been amazing. It’s just a wonderful experience we would have never dreamed of,” said Jason Grandeo, Josh’s dad.

It’s certainly a dream Josh says he never imagined and will never forget.

“Thank you,” Josh said to pit crew members.

Josh’s parents say they will be taking him to Martinsville to see some races.