Autistic teen surprised with trip to Daytona 500

They call him Mr. West Iredell. Tyler Bowie lives with Autism, but that hasn’t stopped him from being one of the school’s most popular students.

Principal Gordon Palmer says he brings energy to the building.

Knowing Tyler’s love for NASCAR, the school partnered with wish-granting organization Dream On 3 to give him a special experience. For Tyler, that means a VIP trip to Sunday’s Daytona 500.

But, it wasn’t that simple. Tyler’s trip is a student led effort where a so-called dream team raised and solicited funds to help pay for the experience.

Michael Ashley is one of those students.

Tyler was celebrated with a school assembly Thursday that included gifts and t-shirt throwing. It wasn’t until the very end he found out he was about to head for the airport.

With an escort from the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, Tyler was taken to the Statesville Regional Airport for a private flight to his VIP weekend. He will enjoy special access with drivers and be a guest at their meeting before the race.