Going to the Races


Sprint racingTemperatures in the 90s. Humidity just as high. Sweat–excuse me, perspiration–pouring into my eyes. Plugs in my ears insufficient to drown out the noise.

Why was I here? I don’t even care about auto racing. I didn’t know any of the drivers. I didn’t really understand all the ins and outs of the preliminaries.

We were at the Sprint Car Races in Knoxville, Iowa, that didn’t end until almost midnight. Even though we lived in NASCAR country (Charlotte, NC) for 10 years, we never got “into” the sport.

But our daughter and son-in-law enjoy going to sprint car races near them and have wanted us to go with them for the past few years. So finally, we were able to work it into our schedule.

We started with a short tour through the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, where we got close-up views of these funny-looking cars with “wings” on top. We learned a little more about the cars, the races, and the drivers. A few names were familiar–including Mario Andretti and Tony Stewart–drivers who started their careers on these dirt tracks, then moved on to IndyCar or NASCAR.

During the races, we learned about “hot laps,” saw several crashes (thankfully, no one was hurt), and entertained the three-year-old granddaughter. We watched in amazement as the cars zoomed past the grandstand at speeds up to 140 mph. We laughed when the little girl thought it was her turn to “go race now.”

No, we didn’t develop a new passion for racing. But we did learn a little something new, and we created precious memories. I call that an evening well-spent.

Who knows? Maybe someday, racing will find its way into one of my novels (though I doubt it). But I was reminded to never pass on an opportunity to try something new.

Hebrews Chapter 11 reminds us of many biblical people who were called by God to do something unexpected and obeyed in faith. We went to the races because our family wanted us to. How much more willing we should be to follow God’s leading when He asks. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV).

What have you tried recently that you’ve never done before?