2022 Vetrepreneur® of the Year
PITTSBURGH, May 25, 2022 – VIQTORY is proud to announce that NASCAR driver and veteran business owner Jesse Iwuji has been named 2022 Vetrepreneur® of the Year, a prestigious honor presented each year to one of the nation’s outstanding veteran business owners.
Vetrepreneur® of the Year winners exemplify excellence as successful business leaders through sustained business growth, a demonstrated passion for cultivating veteran entrepreneurship and a track record of giving back to the community.
“I had the honor of presenting the Vetrepreneur® of the Year hardware to Jesse at the Texas Motor Speedway prior to his race on Armed Forces Day,” said Chris Hale, VIQTORY CEO and a Navy veteran. “He arrived in Fort Worth at 1 a.m. on race day because he had three days of Navy Reserve duty in California. That day Jesse and his team honored a couple dozen veteran-owned businesses by designing their logos onto the car for the Texas race. Jesse is such a driven and selfless leader and example who embodies everything we look for in selecting a Vetrepreneur® of the Year.”
Iwuji’s improbable journey from the Navy to NASCAR will be told in the July issue of G.I. Jobs magazine, which features Iwuji on the cover. He began racing in 2015 while on active duty and stationed in Southern California. He has climbed the ranks of stock-car racing, from running late-model stock cars on half-mile dirt tracks to competing on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series before reaching the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2020.
But it’s not his prowess on the race track that earned Iwuji the 2022 Vetrepreneur® of the Year honor. He added the title of NASCAR team owner when he formed Jesse Iwuji Motorsports in August 2021, partnering with NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and sports agent Matt Casto to form an Xfinity Series team that includes drivers Jesse Little and Kyle Weatherman.
The team represents the latest business venture for Iwuji, whose first entrepreneurial venture was The Red List Group, a drag racing company he formed while on active duty as a surface warfare officer in the US Navy to fuel his NASCAR dreams. In 2018, Iwuji saw another business opportunity in the country’s trucker shortage. He bought a semi truck and JBJE Transportation began hauling goods for Amazon.
Iwuji continues to use his platform as a NASCAR driver and business owner to champion diversity and military and veteran causes. In particular, he wants to dispel the notion that all veterans return to civilian life with PTSD or other issues.
“Let’s bring awareness to all the people who joined the military, served their time and then went on and did really cool things as productive people in society. Highlight that too because there’s a lot of those people out there everywhere you look,” said Iwuji, who still serves in the Navy Reserve.