Even before the green flag waves for this weekend’s General Tire Music City 200 at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., racer Lexi Gay is already a winner. Lexi, 18, is a thyroid cancer survivor who wants to inspire others to reach their dreams, no matter what circumstance.
Lexi, a native of Canton, Georgia, recently announced that she will compete in limited starts this year in the ARCA Menards Series with Empire Racing Group (ERG) while also continuing her development in NASCAR Late Model competition. But, before Lexi could get ready for 2019, she had to overcome adversity that almost derailed her promising racing career last year.
During a doctor’s visit in June of 2018, Lexi was informed that her thyroid was enlarged. At first, doctors found nothing too concerning, but routine blood work and initials test did show irregularities. Over the next few months more blood work, ultrasounds and scans were performed. A mass was found on her thyroid and later revealed it was a tumor. This led to yet another round of tests and multiple biopsies to learn more.
On October 31, 2018 while traveling for a sponsor appearance, Lexi received the call from her doctor confirming that she had thyroid cancer. She immediate returned home to Georgia for further testing and had surgery in December to remove her thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes. Fortunately, the surgery was a success and no additional treatments are needed. Her last body scan indicated she is free of cancer and doctors have cleared her to get back to racing. And, although Lexi will be on thyroid medication for the rest of her life, she is feeling great and her prognosis is excellent.
“I feel blessed in so many ways,” says Lexi. “I look back at what I went through last year and it was scary and was a lot of emotions that cancer patients or people not feeling well, fight every day. And, now, I’m so fortunate to have that chapter behind me and be back on my path in my racing career. Now that I have this platform of racing, I want to use it to share my personal cancer story with others. I want to be an example of someone who had to overcome an unexpected obstacle in my life to still reach my goal of racing professionally.”
Lexi continues, “There are so many people who fight cancer every day. I want to help them, raise awareness and support them in their fight. Even bigger, I just want to let anyone know that you can overcome adversity and still reach your goals. I hope I can use my time racing professionally as a platform to really spread that message. That’s important to me.”
Lexi, who has risen through the ranks from Bandolero racing at the Atlanta Motor Speedway to some of the toughest short tracks in the Southeast, racing in ultra-competitive Limited Late Model and Late Model events, is now under the guidance of team leader Mike “Grumpy” Cheek and the team at Empire Racing Group. She makes her ARCA Menards debut this Saturday night in the No. 44 entry with support from Gordo’s Cheese Dip.
“Hopefully this weekend, people can see that I’m racing against everyone else and have reached the next step in my career. Maybe that gives someone who is fighting that extra motivation to keep fighting. If I can evoke that emotion or inspiration, then that’s just as great as winning the race.”
Lexi has shown her competitive abilities in NASCAR Late Models and with her health scare behind her, is now ready for racing in the ARCA Menards Series. You can watch Lexi race this Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. ET on MAVTV.