Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Faith on the Frontstretch: New beginnings lead to double wins for Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott dripping with red beverage after winning
the NNS race at Darlington April 11, 2014
Credit: NASCAR via Getty images  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

The 2014 season brought a mind-boggling number of changes to NASCAR’s highest series. Some aspects of the sport were merely tweaked, while other areas were totally transformed.

Fans watch the newfangled “knockout” qualifying, akin to mini-races with occasional banged-up racecars. Teams and drivers work to adjust to a different aero package. For those who run afoul of the rules, a new penalty system is in place. And the “W” has become the coveted A+ in the revised Chase format.

The countless changes make everything seem fresh. It’s almost like a new beginning.

On top of the sport-wide modifications are the shufflings amongst teams. Newman to RCR. Larson to Ganassi. Allmendinger to JTG-Daugherty. Rookies Bowman and Truex to BK Racing. Kurt Busch in a fourth car at SHR. And the historic and most debated change: the return of the No. 3 car to the Cup garage.

Though too numerous to list, a couple of stand-outs are Kevin Harvick moving to the No. 4 car with Stewart-Haas Racing and Chase Elliott piloting the No. 9 for JR Motorsports. For these two fortunate NASCAR drivers, new beginnings led to double dividends at Darlington.

This past Friday night, Chase Elliott won the Nationwide race with his new crew chief Greg Ives. Since he took the checkers at Texas the previous week, the victory gave him two in a row and made Elliott the youngest winner in Darlington history. In the Saturday night Cup race, Kevin Harvick and new crew chief, Rodney Childers, won the Southern 500, their second victory of the season, making Harvick the first shoe-in for the 2014 Chase.

Two fresh driver-crew chief pairings, two more Ws. A new beginning for each team.

You know what else is like a new beginning? Easter. We celebrate it each year to remind us how Jesus made all things new.

Of course, Easter weekend didn’t start with the anticipation of launching something new. When Jesus died on Good Friday, it seemed like an ending for those who were there.

But that cold, dark tomb was the venue for a bright, new beginning.

On Easter morning, He rose from the dead. Now Jesus lives! We’re doubly blessed, because not only is Jesus in heaven interceding for us, but He’s also alive in the hearts of believers through His spirit. How cool is that?

The best thing about Easter is the promise it gives us. Each person who accepts the free gift of salvation Jesus offers will go to heaven someday. Without the surety of heaven, death can be a terrifying unknown. But knowing you’ll get a new, perfect body and see loved ones in heaven replaces fear with peace.

Celebrating double wins with a new team – like Harvick and Elliott – is exciting. Plus, there’s the possibility of more success to come.

Reveling in the double victories of Easter – Jesus is alive, and He’s with you in spirit – is pure joy. Plus, there’s the guarantee of heaven to come.

May you and your family have a doubly blessed, meaningful Easter. He is risen!

... anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

“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 NASCAR fans. Or you can purchase the book in paperback & ebook here.


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