Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Faith on the Frontstretch: Stewart and Dillon Tandem at Talladega Earns a Sixth-Place Finish

Tony Stewart and Ty Dillon make the driver swap at Talladega, May 1, 2016.
Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~ Hebrews 12:1b

Following his doctor’s orders after a back injury, Tony Stewart started Sunday’s race in his No. 14 Chevy, but was relieved by Ty Dillon under caution on Lap 52. The two practiced the driver swap ahead of time and pulled off the in-race switch without any issues.

“I really appreciate Ty,” Stewart said, after Dillon took over at Talladega. “He's been a rock star through this whole thing and especially this weekend. He's done all the heavy lifting and I just got in to ride around for 50 laps and turn it over to him. Fortunately we got the Lucky Dog and kept him on the lead lap. The change went pretty smooth – no drama there – so we got him so he could go out there and race now.”

NASCAR.com did a fun video in which they gave this type of tandem teamwork a new name: “Stewarting.” If you need a chuckle, give it a view. Stewarting is depicted as two buddies getting a job done. One person starts the job, then the other finishes it.

The craziest example of Stewarting may be the over-the-wall pit crews – especially the tire changers and tire carriers. These guys and gals spend hours together, perfecting their timing and form. They help each other with footwork, handwork and nuances in handling the equipment to save time. Together, the best pairs remove and reattach two tires in less than 12 seconds. That is tandem teamwork!

As a result of spending time together over shared goals, many of these pit crew pairs develop close friendships, too. A tire changer may or may not have choices about who his tire carrier is, but you and I do have options for our own buddies.

Maybe we can learn something about friendship from the Stewart-Dillon tandem:

Choose your friends carefully.
Stewart didn’t put driver names in a hat, pull one out, and say, “Yep, this one can fill in for me.” No.  He considered his options and decided carefully and deliberately. That’s how we should choose our close friends. Hanging out with godly friends helps us grow in our faith.

Encourage your friends often.
Stewart told the media that he appreciated Dillon, and even went as far as calling the young driver a “rock star.” Friends see potential in each other. Building up our friends up is a way to show confidence in who they are.

A great way to encourage our friends is to pray for them, and ask for prayer in return. There’s nothing more reassuring than knowing a kindred soul is lifting you to our Father in heaven, and then getting on your knees for that friend, too.

Think about your close friends. Do you love on them and give them credit for the blessings they bring to your life? Maybe it’s time to get together with a friend and do a little prayerful teamwork of your own.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.             ~ Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)
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“Faith on the Frontstretch” explores the role of faith in motorsports and runs every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month during the NASCAR season. Follow Beth on twitter at @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. Or you can purchase the book in paperback & ebook

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