Faith on the Frontstretch: Fisticuffs and Forgiveness on Pit Road

Kyle Busch at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 11, 2017.
Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images  
by Beth Bence Reinke

“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~ Hebrews 12:1b

Everyone’s talking about the pit road fight after Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Las Vegas. In fact, it’s easier to find an online video of the Kyle Busch vs. Joey Logano brawl than the actual last-lap racing and crash that produced it.

The problem with “hard racing” between two drivers is that oftentimes one makes out fine, and one gets dumped. Whoever gets the raw end of the deal feels victimized and blames the other driver for it.

Then fans pick sides, deciding who’s guilty of dirty driving and who was wronged. Our views don’t always line up with the facts of how the incident transpired though. Being opinionated human beings, we tend to have a bit of bias based on which drivers and teams we like or don’t like.

It’s hard to be objective when personal conflicts happen in real life, too. We might wear rose-colored glasses when remembering our own conduct, and think the other guy was a total jerk. Reality is usually somewhere in between, and forgiveness helps to restore the relationship.


Such a seemingly innocent word, but oh-so-difficult to pin down. What exactly is forgiveness? What does it mean to forgive someone? And how do we do it?

To define forgiveness, we can look at how God does it. He “removes our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12, The Living Bible) God blots out the wrong we did, as if it never happened.

Say someone borrowed $50 from you and never paid it back. One day you think, “I’m tired of asking for that money back.” So you mentally cancel the $50 debt, and let it go. Now you’re free from ruminating about it. You have "forgiven" the debt.

Forgiving a financial debt is one thing. But forgiving someone who hurts us is harder. We want them to own up to the pain they caused. If they don’t, we may wish they’d hurt as much as we do, or we want justice where they’re punished for harming us.

But in many cases the person who hurt us may not even know it. Or they may know and not care one whit. In such cases, the benefits of forgiveness are only for you, the forgiver.

Forgiveness is a decision. When you forgive, you release yourself from the prison cell of negative emotions you feel when you think about the perpetrator. You swing open that barred door and leave all the crap behind. In your heart, you let it go.

Whether they know you’ve forgiven the debt or not doesn’t matter. You know, and now you’re free from worrying about it.

I wish there was a recipe with steps that would create “perfect forgiveness” every time. But each of us has to work through it in our own way. A good place to start is to remember how flawed we are and how often God forgives us.

So, should Logano apologize for wrecking Busch? Will Busch ask forgiveness for swinging first instead of speaking? Should the No. 22 crew apologize for roughing up Busch?

Forgiveness may or may not be requested or granted for Sunday’s hullabaloo. That’s up to the guys involved, and we may never know.

But each of us does know about his or her own life. Is there someone who has hurt you? Forget the fisticuffs. Go with forgiveness instead.

Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.     ~Ephesians 4:31-32 (The Living Bible)

“Faith on the Frontstretch” explores the role of faith in motorsports and runs the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of the month during the NASCAR season.

Beth has been writing Faith on the Frontstretch since 2011. She’s a registered dietitian, author and editor who loves chocolate and Sundays. Follow her on twitter at

Faith on the Frontstretch: Fisticuffs and Forgiveness on Pit Road Faith on the Frontstretch: Fisticuffs and Forgiveness on Pit Road Reviewed by Beth Reinke on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Rating: 5