SLINGER, Wis. – Josh Brock was certain he had food poisoning following a vacation to Florida.
However, he wasn’t getting better, which was both frustrating and odd. At the time, he was in his first season touring with his late model and was leading the ARCA/CRA Series’ championship points standings. So, he went to the doctor, still certain it was food poisoning. What else could it be?
Soon after, he got the news he didn’t expect, changing his life forever: cancer.
It was July 2017 and the now 27-year-old Kentucky native was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphona.
“The doctor was like, ‘You’re done. We’ve got to get you in for surgery and you’ve got to start taking treatments,’” Brock said July 9 at Slinger Super Speedway ahead of the 40th SUPERSEAL Slinger Nationals presented by Miller Lite. “It was very fast.”
Racing kept him motivated as he struggled with his health and while on the difficult road to recovery.
“Racing is what kind of propelled me,” Brock said. “It was always the dream to get back into racing.”
One couldn’t blame him for the desire to do so. He had gotten quite good at it.
He started in 2005 at age 13 in the Mini-Stock division at his home track in Corbin, Ky., which is nestled along the Daniel Boone National Forest – 85 miles north of Knoxville, Tenn. He also raced in the same division at Rocket Speedway in Mount Vernon, Ky., about an hour north of Corbin. In that season, Brock won 15 races, as well as 11 pole positions on his way to a championship.
He had a slew of success over the next couple seasons, winning 12 races in the Pure Street division at Corbin Speedway, twice in his dad’s super truck and won the Senaca 600 in Florence, S.C., setting the track record and led every lap.
In 2008, Brock raced at Corbin Speedway and Tazewell Speedway in Tennessee. He won nine races that year and finished third in a Camaro at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.
Brock transitioned into late models in 2009 at Corbin Speedway, winning six races, and also raced in the Ken-Ten Pro Late Model Series, finishing second in the points. He won one race, with nine top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes.
He enjoyed more success competing in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series and won another track championship at Corbin.
From 2012 to 2016, he scaled back his racing to concentrate on his stream restoration company. But when he did race, he was competitive. In 2016, he won 10 races.
He returned to full-time racing in 2017 with the ARCA/CRA Series and got out to a good start, leading the championship points at the halfway point.
“That was 2017, it was our first year we truly wanted to go big-time racing,” Brock said. “We never had the opportunity. We said, ‘This is our chance. Let’s do it and see how we can compare.’
“Right off the bat we were leading the points. We didn’t get that first win yet. We were running really good; top-fives everywhere.”
Then, he got the news of cancer. He struggled to figure out how to cope with the news. He didn’t have much time to think it over.
“I found out on a Tuesday. Wednesday was the final result. Friday I had my first surgery. On Monday, I had my first treatment,” Brock said.