Faith on the Frontstretch: Perseverance at Martinsville may earn Kurt Busch a new nickname

Kurt Busch wins at Martinsville, March 30, 2014.
Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  ~ Hebrews 12:1b

Guts, grit and sheer determination. Those words could describe just about any NASCAR driver, including the “Outlaw,” Kurt Busch.

But the elder Busch looked more like the “Sheriff” than an outlaw at Martinsville this weekend. His display of perseverance earned him a grandfather clock and his first trip to Victory Lane in more than 80 starts. After the race, Busch discussed both his difficulties and his determination.

“I've always looked at Martinsville as a struggle - to get a 15th and just kind of move on. To beat Jimmie Johnson and to pass for the win and have him pass me and then I got back by him - it was a great short-track duel,” he said.

“But it's been a long two years, and it's been a lot of hard work, and I just kept staying the course.”

In other words, Busch persevered. The dictionary definition may say it best:

Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Winning at the Paper Clip takes not only steady hands and feet, but a steadfast mindset. Busch almost didn’t pass muster when he thought about giving up early on.

 “We’re done,” he said over the radio, after the dustup with Kahne and Keselowski on pit road. But the No. 41 team and driver rallied and fixed their eyes on the prize.

That second part of the definition of perseverance is the toughest: those doggone difficulties. It would be so much easier to persevere without them, wouldn’t it? But life and racing are full of unexpected twists.

Perseverance means keeping focused through the difficulties. Busch didn’t allow attacks to get him side-tracked. When the No. 2 car wanted to do a little bump-dancing, the Stewart-Haas driver wasn’t joining the dance party. He was running the race that was marked out for him.

Once you win, it’s time to let down your guard, right? Not always. As Kurt Busch discovered, you can have distractions, even while you’re celebrating a success.

In post-race interviews, Busch repeatedly deflected questions about the feud between himself and Keselowski. When one reporter played him a video segment of Keselowski calling him out of Victory Lane, Busch pointed the interviewer back to the “real story” of his win.

Busch refused to participate in escalating the conflict. He chose to focus on the positive, direct the conversation in an uplifting direction and move on.

That’s perseverance. That’s choosing steadfastness instead of bending ears or breaking rules.

Is Kurt Busch perfect? Nope. But it was refreshing to see a guy who used to be an outlaw acting like the sheriff, at least in his TV interviews.

Where does that kind of perseverance and positive change come from? For many people, it stems from a relationship with God. When we focus on Him, the trivial distractions of life fade away.

As our faith deepens, we receive the strength to stay on track and run the race.

“ ... let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”      ~ Hebrews 12:1b-2a

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

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.
Faith on the Frontstretch: Perseverance at Martinsville may earn Kurt Busch a new nickname Faith on the Frontstretch: Perseverance at Martinsville may earn Kurt Busch a new nickname Reviewed by Beth Reinke on Wednesday, April 02, 2014 Rating: 5