Friday, January 19, 2007

The Number Seventy!

Last year I fulfilled a childhood dream of driving a stock car in a Saturday night event. Today I received the race schedule for 2007.
Looks like I am going to be getting some more seat time! March 2nd, I fly to Atlanta to go to driving school then on March 17, 24, 25 and 30 I practice. The season kicks off March 31st with a 125 lap main event on the 5/8's mile track. Here is some Q & A I recently did:
Q: What got you started in NASCAR?
A: When I was young my dad and I would go watch the races at a local track in our hometown. We often talked about getting involved in a race team at some point. After Dad passed, my friend, Roger Habich, asked me to get involved with his racing. My wife and I sold some property, talked with some business owners who wanted to market their company, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Q: Why, after five years of helping Roger's team, do you want to race?
A: I guess it mostly comes down to passion. I want to try things for the rest of my life other people may never do. Sometimes I think people perceive pastors as people who only preach and lead churches. I lead a great church, and God has made me diverse. He gave me a passion for motor sports years ago. When I was young my dad bought me a '69 Camaro and I would work on it every weekend. Growing up I loved motocross, go karts, four-wheelers, you name it, if it had an engine I was trying to make it go fast. I don't think I have anything to prove to anyone, but to prove I am a person who loves life and wants to experience it to the fullest. Seeing the racing scene from the other side of the wheel will be pretty cool also. Last Sept I ran 50 laps and had a blast. I wasn't as fast as the guys in the front, but I can't expect a lot. I had never raced anything with four wheels before that night. When I take the green flag this year sometime, it will only be my second time.
Q: What are your expectations in driving this season?
A: I don't really have any. I want to go to a few races, have fun, not get too serious and come home with the race car and myself in one piece. Those are my expectations. Driving these cars is not easy, so to be able to get seat time and learn is all I want to do.
Q: Are you a NASCAR fan?
A: Yeah for sure. I go home after preaching on Sunday mornings and watch the race on TIVO. I have a pretty cool video game to practice a little on. You could say I am a fan, but I don't have a bumper sticker.
Q: Who is your favorite driver?
A: I am suppose to say Roger, right? Yeah Roger is my favorite. There is something amazing about a local driver with talent, who strives to put his best foot forward each week. Roger made other decisions with his life other than racing full-time, but I think any of the notable drivers in the NW could race at the highest level of the sport with the right opportunity. All it takes is desire. Being on the owner side of a team I have observed the passion that local racers put into their sport and I say this, "If Christians had the passion of NASCAR crew members, the world would be a different place." I have seen crew members stay up for 2 and 3 days straight, just to get a car ready for a 30-lap main and I have seen church-goers stay up past 10:30 only to stay home from church because they were tired.
Q: Speaking of church, how does racing come into play?
A: The Rock Church is about connecting people to life. We want people to live their life to the fullest, and we are certain, after experiencing God and studying His word , He wants the same. Racing is a fun thing we do in order to show people that even though we're Christ-follower's, we are normal and have passions.
Q: Thanks Jeff, when will we see our pastor on the track this year?
A: I won't make any guarantees, but I will let everyone know when it happens.