Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Faith on the Frontstretch: Brake Issues Lead to Pit Road Collisions

The No. 78 car of Martin Truex Jr. contacts the wall, Aug. 1, 2016.
Credit: Josh Hedges / Getty Images.
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~ Hebrews 12:1b

For two years in a row, Pocono Raceway’s pit road has proven extra dangerous for the over-the-wall crews. Even though it’s not a short track or a road course, the Tricky Triangle takes a toll on brakes, leading to crashes or cars taking turns too fast and hitting the wall. But sometimes freaky pit road mishaps occur when brakes fail, causing cars to collide with the crew members scurrying to service them.

Last August at Pocono, Brad Keselowski locked up his brakes and slid through his pit box and hit his jackman, while the front tire carrier jumped onto the hood, sending the tire bouncing into the pit lane. Neither crewman was hurt.

Last weekend though, an ARCA crewman suffered injuries in a similar incident at the three-turn track. During Friday night’s race, the No. 98 car of Gus Dean suffered a brake line failure, and he struck his jackman and front tire changer. The tire changer, Pedro Martinez, was OK, but jackman Jon House suffered a concussion and spent a few days in the hospital. Thankfully, he is expected to recover.

Whether a driver is racing full throttle or cruising down pit road, being able to control the car by checking up and stopping at the proper times is critical to racing success. But when brakes aren’t maintained properly or they wear out from abuse, they can fail during a race – and the result usually isn’t pretty.

Mistreating the brakes on your own vehicle may not end well either. If you encounter a flash flood and splash through deep puddles, you’ll end up with water in the brake lines. Or if you drive to work with the parking brake on, you may overheat and damage your brakes.

Just as brakes need proper upkeep in order to keep you safe and prevent disaster, your conscience needs care and attention, too. Your conscience is an inner ability to discern what’s right or wrong. Like brakes, a healthy conscience can help us “check up” or halt before we get into trouble. If you’re about to make a foolish choice, a well-maintained conscience provides a niggling feeling in your gut, that says “Stop!”

But your conscience can be swayed by external influences — both good and bad. The world is full of crappy influences, so each of has to choose what we allow into our hearts and minds. No matter how strong and smart we are, the bad stuff we allow to seep in can impair our consciences, just like water can mess up a brake line.

A conscience that’s saturated with immoral influences from the world is rendered ineffective. It won’t protect you, and may even put you on a collision course, where the end result is knocking down and harming someone from your own crew.

Thankfully, you can keep your conscience well-maintained, so you can trust it to keep you from wrecking. A good place to start is by reading the Word of God and using its principles to nurture your conscience. If you've never read the Bible before, choose an easy-to-read version like The Message or The Living Bible. Begin with the New Testament and read five or 10 minutes each day initially.

A bit of daily maintenance can help keep your conscience in working order. Then, as you race through life, your dependable conscience works like brakes, slowing things down before a situation gets out of control — and maybe even stopping you just short of a pit road collision.

I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith ...    ~ 1 Timothy 1:18-19 (NRSV)
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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 here.

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