Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Faith on the Frontstretch: Lessons from Kurt Busch’s Daytona 500 Win


Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images  
 “ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”     ~ Hebrews 12:1b

When Kurt Busch led the final lap of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, he didn’t look back. That’s because with 30 laps to go, his rearview mirror fell off, so he focused straight ahead and pressed on for the win.

The mirror malfunction later became an inspiration for the driver because of his wife’s perspective on the matter. In fact, insightful remarks by both Busch and his wife worked together to illuminate lessons from Scripture.

Daytona Lesson #1 from Ashley Busch: Look forward, not back.

During the Victory Lane celebration, it wasn’t the trophy or confetti or comradery that made the biggest impression on Busch. He said his favorite moment was when his wife, Ashley, shared her thoughts about the rearview mirror failure. He discussed it at the Daytona 500 Champion’s Breakfast on Monday.

“You can talk about the ups-and-downs of one’s career or personal life, and my wife said something in Victory Lane last night,” Busch said. “She goes, ‘You know, it’s an omen that your mirror came apart, because you’re not supposed to be looking in the rearview mirror; you’re supposed to be looking out front and what the future holds.’

Shop for 2017 Daytona 500 Champs Gear and Collectibles at Store.NASCAR.com
Daytona Lesson #2 from Kurt Busch: Give it your all.

The No. 41 team did something phenomenal. They joined an elite group of teams who won NASCAR’s “Super Bowl.”

But you won’t hear the driver say, “Well, there’s no need to try real hard anymore. I’m both a Cup Champion and a Daytona 500 Champion, so I’ve ‘arrived.’ I’ll just coast through from here on out without working too hard.”

Kurt Busch, nor any other NASCAR driver, talks like that. There is no such thing as having “arrived.” There’s always room to improve for the next race. Racers keep racing, and they race to win.

Busch explained it like this:

“I do my best every week to come to the race track and to find the speed in the car and to deliver the information that I can to the crew chief and to the lead engineer and make a lap time – go out there for a qualifying session, go out there for practices and find the speed in the race ...”

“... I’m a survivor just giving it my all,” he said.

Look forward, not back.
And give it your all.


Well, cue the Twilight Zone music, because Philippians 3:13-14 contains not one, but both of the “Daytona lessons.” The verses even use the analogy that life is a race. Pretty cool, huh?

So, what can you and I do with these lessons? Both of them relate to our spiritual journeys and how we live our lives.

Look forward, not back. Forget your mistakes and any bad stuff from the past. Grab hold of this moment and do what you can to glorify God in it. See each new day as a chance to grow closer to Him.

Give it your all. Give God everything – your heart, your thought life, your outward actions, your time. Ask God to help you give this life everything you've got while growing closer to Him.

You and I are running a race of life that’s infinitely more significant than the Daytona 500. Run your race well, my friend.

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us. ~ Philippians 3:13-14 (TLB)
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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.

Beth Reinke 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 @bbreinke.

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