Sep 12, 2015 9:54 PM
NASHUA - To put it lightly, Joe Bulwin is obsessed with legendary NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
In addition to a tattoo of Gordon's number and signature on his left hand, he also collects dozens of pieces of memorabilia.
“These are the actual lug nuts off of Jeff Gordon’s car," Bulwin said while looking through it all on Saturday.
A longtime racer himself, Bulwin said he relates to Gordon's passion for speed and performance.
He respects the driver so much that he became a page manager for the Facebook group “Jeff Gordon Loyal Followers", which has over 8,000 members to date. One of those members is 19-year-old Dylan Bauerle of Germantown, Wisconsin.
“To see the fire in his eyes, to see the passion that [Gordon] has for racing…I see the same passion and fire out of Dylan," Bulwin said.
Bauerle suffers from cerebral palsy, but he's never let it impact his lifelong love for racing - and his idol.
“Jeff Gordon is my hero, and I’ve been watching him since I was 5 years old," Bauerle told an NH1 reporter via cell phone on Saturday. "He’s just been my idol since day one.”
And now, Bauerle is about to get his lifelong wish of meeting Gordon in person – thanks to the efforts of his buddy, Joe Bulwin, after the two connected through the Facebook page.
Bulwin said after months of making calls, emails and begging to marketing managers all the way up to the top of NASCAR - he finally received donated tickets, an all-access HOT Pass and one-on-one time reserved with Gordon at Chicagoland Speedway in Illinois next week.
But there’s a problem – Bulwin can’t afford the plane ride to join Bauerle, who lives just a few hours away from the track.
“I said I'll hitchhike there if I have to," he told NH1 News.
Also disabled and with little income, Bulwin has now turned to a GoFundMe page to help get him there – hoping to finally meet Dylan in person, and introduce him to Gordon.
However, with just over a week left - the page had only raised about $60 as of Saturday night.
Bulwin said he needs about $1,000 to be able to take the trip.
But he hasn't yet given up hope - and neither has Bauerle.
The two are working hard to promote their page in hopes that someone, somewhere will help make their dream of meeting Gordon - together - a reality.
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