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Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
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Author Topic: Religion and NASCAR Racing  (Read 7691 times)
Shammu
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« on: July 02, 2007, 02:02:05 AM »

Religion and NASCAR Racing

Many people know that prior to each Sunday race, the drivers and team members assemble to have a church service before the driver’s meeting. Prior to the National Anthem, Rev. Hal Marchman gives the invocation over the track’s announcement system. It is sometimes inspiring that before the 3400 pound beasts come to life and tear along the asphalt, that drivers, teams and fans take part in this racing ritual.

But why is NASCAR one of the few professional sports that embraces religion so much? One could argue that it is because the drivers know that each time they make a lap, they are putting their life on the line, or that NASCAR was born in the deep south, where the Bible Belt runs strong. The character of Harry Hogg, played by Robert Duvall in the movie Days of Thunder, said that “drivers can’t stand to be reminded of what can happen to them in a racecar.” It is because of this unspoken phobia, that I believe the drivers turn to their religion for security and peace of mind.

Most of the drivers and teams have their own unique ways of showing their faith. Before Ernie Irvan retired from racing, he wore a guardian angel pin on his driver’s suit. On the TV Panel of Bobby Labonte’s #18, just below the right tail light decal, there is a decal that simply says “John 3:16.”  Also, during the 2000 Winston Cup Awards Banquet, Joe Gibbs, the owner of the #18 and #20 teams, said at the beginning of his speech, “I hope there is some way that we can use this championship to honor God.”

The spiritual beliefs of the racing family were tested several times during the 2000 season with the tragic losses of Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, and Tony Roper, but still, NASCAR, the teams, and the fans all supported each other through what was the hardest season since 1993 when we lost the defending Winston Cup Champion, Alan Kulwicki, and Davey Allison to separate aviation accidents. The NASCAR family also lost two of the sport’s founding fathers, Herb Thomas and Lee Petty during the 2000 season. It is often said that loss makes the heart stronger. NASCAR has suffered many losses through its 52 years of existence, but the spiritual beliefs continually get stronger and more influential.

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Shammu
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2007, 02:03:55 AM »

In case y'all are wondering..............  Yes I tape the races, I can't catch live. Tongue
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2007, 02:42:47 AM »

Note: I am not a NASCAR fan but I love to hear testimonies by Christians who seek to magnify the Lord in any sport and I like to see them do well.  So I thought I would share here a news article about NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip from a couple of years ago.

Racer Figures It's Best to Cross the Finish Line with the Lord
Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR Legend

By Doug Greengard
Christian Sports Minute
February 18, 2005
 
(AgapePress) - Growing up in Owensboro, Kentucky, Darrell Waltrip's focus was on reaching the winner's circle. It began with go-kart racing when he was 12, and his dream was to advance to the pinnacle of stock car racing success. "That was my mission," said Waltrip. "I pursued that with everything that I had."
 
By 1972, after working his way up on dirt tracks and short tracks, Waltrip made his NASCAR debut at Alabama's Talladega Speedway. Three years later, he decided to shift gears and hit the track full-time against the world's best drivers on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
 
The rest, they say, is racing history. Checkered flags, along with fame and fortune, followed as Waltrip quickly rose to the ranks of one of the sport's elite drivers. Everything seemed to be going just as planned. That was, of course, until one day in 1983 when, at the urging of his wife Stevie, he attended an event not far from their home in Nashville, Tennessee, and listened to a minister discuss eternal life.
 
"I thought that if I was a good guy, I would go to heaven if anything ever happened to me," says Waltrip, who was NASCAR's Driver of the Decade in the 1980s. "I figured if I got killed in a race car, or whatever, I was a good person ... I never killed anybody ... I never robbed anybody -- I figured I'd go to heaven."
 
Waltrip, seeing his need for a Savior, surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. Stevie had already begun her walk with the Lord and was being of great encouragement to her husband and others at the race track.
 
"She was attending Bible study fellowship and got on fire for the Lord and starting working on me," says Waltrip, a three-time Winston Cup Series Champion. "In our sport, there's an element of danger and she wanted to make sure every Sunday that I was protected the best I -- and the other drivers -- could be."
 
It became a custom that Stevie would hand out notecards containing Bible scriptures to the drivers. In 1986, the Waltrip's took another giant step, joining with several other racing couples to form Motor Racing Outreach. "We saw in 1986 a huge need on the circuit," explains Waltrip. "It's our church at the track."
 
After retiring in 2001 and being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Waltrip still stays connected to the sport as a television analyst. Looking back, he sees how powerfully he has been used to share God's love with others.
 
"Sports gives us such a great platform," he adds. "I'm glad that I can do my part, and I wish other guys would step up and do the same thing."
 
Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. That is, literally, where the rubber meets the road for Darrell Waltrip.
 
Doug Greengard is chaplain for the NFL's New Orleans Saints and the host/producer of Christian Sports Minute, a radio feature airing on more than 300 stations in North America. To obtain Heroes of Faith, a book filled with 24 stories of well-known sports figures, send a donation of $10 or more to: Greengard Family Ministries, 2250 Gause Blvd., PMB 51089, Slidell, LA 70461

2005 AgapePress all rights reserved
 
Source:  AgapePress news article at:
http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/2/182005g.asp
« Last Edit: October 14, 2007, 02:49:01 AM by BHarper » Logged
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