Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Faith on the Frontstretch: Teamwork During Tough Times

Track cleanup at the 2012 Daytona 500
Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
“...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

When Juan Pablo Montoya’s out-of-control car careened into the jet dryer during the Daytona 500, it was a scary sight. In an instant, gushing fuel from the punctured tank burst into a thick wall of flames across the track. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt!

As the red flag dragged on, I started to worry about the fans. Was sitting in the stands for an extra two hours a physical hardship for anyone with special needs? After staying an extra night or two, did people have enough money with them for food and drinks? Would people have to sleep in their cars after the race? Knowing what good-hearted souls racing fans are, I figured those who had an abundance probably shared snacks or gave water bottles to people they didn’t know. Those who were at Daytona that weekend can probably tell stories of “people helping people” during the unexpected delays - teamwork at the track.

Folks came together on the race track, too. I loved watching the team of workers rinse away the fuel and sprinkle laundry detergent to clean the track. The drivers banded together, too, even if it was just for fun. They hopped out of their cars to socialize, tweet, and run foot races to the portable toilets. Due to an unexpected disaster, everyone - the fans, cleanup workers and drivers – bonded as they spent time shoulder-to-shoulder. Teamwork on the track.

Racing accidents like the jet dryer incident occur at whirlwind speeds. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike suddenly off the race track, too. In the past week or so, tornadoes pummeled towns in 13 states across the central and southern United States. Several dozen people were killed, many more injured and neighborhoods demolished. It will take teamwork to clean up these devastated towns and help people heal from their grief.

Whether it’s a fiery crash or a tornado, disasters seem to bring out our best qualities in a couple ways. First, adversity brings people together and stirs our hearts toward kindness. When we see others in desperate need, we want to reach out to soothe their hurts and give them something – a cup of coffee, a place to sleep, diapers for their baby, anything that will bring a smile and restore hope.

The second thing catastrophes do is turn our focus toward God. For example, when NASCAR nation learned that Chris Myers’ son was killed, there was an outpouring of prayers for Chris and his family. Heartbreak and loss strip away the normalcy of everyday life and reminds us of what is truly important. In the midst of tragedy, even those who don’t profess faith are often willing to pray or accept prayers on their behalf. I believe it’s because deep down, human beings have an innate knowledge that God is our source of strength and resilience.

When bad things happen to others, we have the privilege of being on God’s team. We become God’s hands and feet on earth to share His love. Is there someone you know who has troubles and needs a helping hand? If there are no tornado victims near you, people still have needs. Look around. Maybe a neighbor who lost his job could use a bag of groceries or an elderly person needs a ride to the doctor.

As you help someone, why not offer to pray for them, too? Grasp their hands, bow your head and talk to God about their situation. Don’t worry about looking or sounding foolish. When you help another human being or pray for someone, you are never foolish. Reach out and bless someone today.

 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” ~ Luke 10:27


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, RaceFans’ Devotions to Go. See you on the frontstretch!

Beth Bence Reinke is the author of RaceFans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans. “Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth also writes “Gibbs Garage,” Sprint Cup race recaps for Joe Gibbs Racing teams. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke.


  1. great article....keep on praying....there are many lost souls!!!