Faith on the Frontstretch: What NASCAR kids can teach us about winning

Victory Lane at Dover International Speedway
Credit: Beth Bence Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

Sometimes the simple outlook of children can illustrate a life truth better than any adult explanation. Such was the case with a story about a couple of NASCAR kids, shared by Melanie Self. The girls were chatting about their dads, and had an unusual, but harmonious viewpoint on winning a race.

As the Women’s and Children’s Ministry Coordinator for Motor Racing Outreach, Miss Melanie has a unique insight into faith and families in racing. She cares for the drivers’ children during races, teaching them in the MRO Community Center in the infield. She recalls a conversation between Michael Waltrip’s daughter, Macy, and Jeff Burton’s daughter, Paige, when they were little girls:

“Macy said, ‘I hope my daddy can win today.’
Paige was coloring and she said, ‘Oh, I hope my daddy wins today.’
Then they looked at each other and said, ‘Maybe both of our daddies will win today!’”

These two young ladies came from multi-driver families and were growing up in the NASCAR community. They knew their dads and uncles competed fiercely on the track. But from their sweet little hearts came the hope that both of their daddies would be victorious. Isn’t that a beautiful perspective?

The reality is that on the track, on pit road and in the garage, winning is about the coveted checkered flag. Positioning yourself in front of everyone else earns a driver the trophy, purse and bragging rights, plus an interview in Victory Lane. We use terms like “bump and run,” “beatin’ and bangin’” and “slicing through the field” to describe a winning strategy. Winning on the race track is about taking care of number one. It’s self-focused.

But being a winner behind the scenes is a different story. A winning mindset off the track – in the motorhome lot, in team meetings, with the sponsors and fans - is about treating people right and building relationships. It’s others-focused.

Behaving like a winner in real life, staying “others-focused,” doesn’t come naturally to most of us. It’s hard. It means pushing our own wants and needs aside a lot of the time. It means being patient and loving, and wanting blessings not only for you, but for others, too - like Macy and Paige, each wanting the best for her own dad and her friend’s dad.

Trying to be a winner in our own strength is like trying to race with only fumes left in the tank. When we know our place as a well-loved child of God, our tank is full, and that abundance spills over onto others. Instead of stalling out because we feel insecure about what people think of us, God’s love propels forward. We can love others because God loved us first.

Remember, you have what you need to be a winner in real life. Accept God’s love. Embrace it. Then pass it on to others.

Love your neighbor as yourself. ~ Matthew 22:39

To read Beth’s full interview with Melanie Self of Motor Racing Outreach, click here.

“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans.

Faith on the Frontstretch: What NASCAR kids can teach us about winning Faith on the Frontstretch: What NASCAR kids can teach us about winning Reviewed by Beth Reinke on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 Rating: 5