Teenage Good Samaritan Joey Prusak rewarded with trip to Daytona 500

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Doing the right things pays off with a trip to the Daytona 500 for 19-year-old Dairy Queen worker.

A teenage short-track racer from Minnesota is being rewarded for his good deed with a trip to the 2014 Daytona 500, courtesy of NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway.

Joey Prusak was working the register at a Minneapolis-area Dairy Queen he manages when he saw a blind man drop $20 on the floor. A woman also noticed, but instead of returning the money, she placed it in her pocket.

"It's the Super Bowl of racing. It's the Daytona 500, what else can you say? I'm unbelievably excited."-Joey Prusak

"The lady behind him saw it and picked it up really quick," Prusak told SB Nation. "I had no time to tell him he dropped anything."

That's when the 19-year-old Prusak intervened and asked the woman to return the money. She refused, saying the money was hers and had dropped it by accident. The two went back and forth before Prusak asked the woman to leave the store.

"Ma'am, please, you can either return the $20 or you can leave, because I'm not going to serve someone as disrespectful as you," Prusak told the woman.

Prusak then took $20 from his own pocket and gave it to the man. He mentioned the incident to no one, though a customer impressed with his actions visited the Dairy Queen website and shared the commendable act she witnessed.

That letter eventually made its way to the Dairy Queen where Prusak worked and was pinned on a backroom bulletin board. A fellow employee then took a picture and posted it on Facebook, making Prusak a social media sensation.

Since the good deed, Prusak has received numerous commendations including a phone call from Warren Buffett, whose company owns Dairy Queen, inviting him to the company shareholders meeting next year.

But it was the offer to attend the Daytona 500 that floored the lifelong NASCAR fan, who began competing in local short track races himself last year.

A guest on "The Queen Latifah Show" Wednesday, Prusak was asked what he likes to do in his spare time. He responded by describing his passion for NASCAR and how he competed in races locally in the Twin Cities. Latifah surprised Prusak by playing a prerecorded video where Kevin Harvick invited him to NASCAR's biggest event as his personal guest.

The gesture left Prusak speechless.

"I don't even know how to explain it," he told SB Nation. "It's the Super Bowl of racing. It's the Daytona 500, what else can you say? I'm unbelievably excited."

One of Prusak's guests will be his father, also a local racer who has won a handful of regional championships and instilled his love of the sport into his son as a young boy. When his dad raced, Prusak used to tag along and two years ago decided to try his hand at driving.

His father, retired from driving, responded with "Heck yeah" and quickly assembled a car for his son. Prusak plans on taking his father with him to Daytona as one of his three guests.

"Dad was speechless; he didn't know what to say," Prusak said. "The first thing he said was, ‘That's sweet. Hopefully we can bring the whole race team.'"

This will be the second time Prusak has attended a Sprint Cup race, though the first time comes with an asterisk. That race was the 2008 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an event marred by repeated tire failures necessitating officials having to throw a caution flag every 10-15 laps.

"That was my first race, but considering they could only do 10 laps at a time, there wasn't really any racing," Prusak said. "It was a pit road race."

While Prusak is in Daytona, he hopes to meet Joey Logano, his favorite driver. Prusak saw Logano race a few years ago in a K&N Series race at Elko Speedway -- one of the tracks Prusak competes at himself in the Minneapolis area -- and because the two are of similar age, he considers Logano his "racing idol."

Even if Prusak doesn't get the chance to meet Logano, he won't complain.

"If I only meet Kevin Harvick, hey that's okay," he said. "Kevin Harvick is a helluva driver."

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