Faith on the Frontstretch: The Ripple Effect in Racing and Real Life

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images  
“...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

Did you ever plunk a pebble into a pond and watch the ripples spread out? Each new circle grows wider, affecting more and more of the water’s surface area. In a race, every action a driver takes is like a pebble, forming ripples that reach out in waves and impact other drivers. A lapped car giving the leader room to get by – good ripples. Spinning another driver into the wall – bad ripples. Leading the final lap – victory ripples!

In November 2011, we saw drivers’ actions on the track have wide-ranging ripples. One example was Kyle Busch wrecking Ron Hornaday, Jr.’s truck under caution at Texas Motor Speedway. Bad ripples sloshed onto Hornaday’s CWTS championship bid, leading to disheartened sponsors, fans, family, and team members. The ripples splattered all of Busch’s teams, his family, Joe Gibbs, sponsors, and even fans and kids who watch him from afar. One person’s actions with far-reaching ripples.

Ripples can work for good, too. When Kasey Kahne won at Phoenix International Speedway, he broke an 81-race winless streak. The success was a morale boost for Red Bull team members, at a time when their future was uncertain. In Victory Lane, an emotional Kahne dedicated the win to his mom and grandma, after the loss of his great grandfather during the week. The sweet gesture probably touched those two ladies’ hearts and tugged the heartstrings of viewers across the nation. Another person’s actions with far-reaching ripples.

Kahne wins at PIR.
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
The point here is not to beat up Busch or portray Kahne as a hero. (He’s had his own tweeting trouble in the off-season, resulting in unpleasant ripples.) The point is, we all mess up. Almost anything we do or say is like a tossed pebble, with the potential to affect other people.

What determines if ripples are good or bad? I suspect our attitudes make a difference, whether it’s a driver in a race or you and me in real life. When our hearts are selfish or prideful, we put ourselves first. We think, “My rights supersede yours.” That mindset can lead to reckless actions that hurt others - bad ripples. Having a grateful heart produces humility. Being humble, thankful and polite naturally leads to valuing others and caring for them - good ripples.

It’s hard to make good ripples all the time. No one can do it without God’s help. But we can cultivate a more thankful attitude. We can pray for the patience to be down-to-earth and appreciative in our interactions with other people. I want to launch only good ripples by my words and actions, don’t you? A few victory ripples from my favorite drivers would be welcome, too.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ~ Philippians 2:3-4

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 or more to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go. See you on the frontstretch!

Beth Bence Reinke is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans. Her column for Skirts and Scuffs explores the role of faith in motorsports. To read more of Beth’s posts, click on her name or “Faith on the Frontstretch” on the Skirts and Scuffs home page. Comment on this post or reach her via Twitter: @bbreinke.

Faith on the Frontstretch: The Ripple Effect in Racing and Real Life Faith on the Frontstretch: The Ripple Effect in Racing and Real Life Reviewed by Beth Reinke on Wednesday, February 01, 2012 Rating: 5