by Rev. Don Rivers
As I reflected on the events of this past week and what it means to have
someone care about us, my thoughts turned to my father. I wondered how many
of us have a passion for something because our father put it there.
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I remember the first time I went to a racetrack, it was in the mid
60ís and my dad brought me to Stafford Motor Speedway. I was your typical
seven year old, I didnít sit still, wanted everything the concession stand
had to offer and watching the racing was secondary. However, I was hooked, I
wanted to come back.
To this day, I get that feeling in my stomach; excitement like it
was the first time. I attend Stafford ís Friday night races many times every
season but that feeling is still there. I hope I never lose it. Thanks dad.
The race that cemented my interest in the sport happened one summer
night a few years later at Catamount Speedway in Vermont . Bobby Dragon and
Canada 's Jean-Paul Cabana dueled for the entire feature. As they came out
of turn four one car erupted in flames. As they rolled to a stop the other
driver was halfway out of his car with a fire extinguisher in his hand to
help the man he just fought tooth and nail with for the win. What a show of
The part that really hooked me though was when the night was
finished we went through the gate at the start/finish line and walked into
the pits. I had a chance to see the drivers and their cars up close and
personal. I was in awe, theses guys were larger than life and that night
left an impression that has fueled my feeling about racing to this day.
I have my father to thank for that. My dad didnít live too long, he
passed when I was fifteen, but during the time we had together he taught me
a tremendous amount about life and how to live it. I think every parent only
wants that opportunity, the opportunity to pass on their passion to their
children. We want to teach them what and how this life should be lived.
I wonder how your dad touched your life. I look at the names of the
drivers and I see the Jr.ís after many names. Each one is there to honor the
dad that blazed the trail and imparted on his son the passion to race. There
is at least one cheering for them, dad.
As I said before my dad passed away when I was fifteen but that
doesnít stop him from being an influence in my life. Much of who I am and
how I view things I learned from him. I know he didnít always do things
right but he was always my dad.
I am reminded of how many times Jesus referred to his father. Jesus
wasnít out there alone, his father was there for him. There would however
come a time when Jesus would leave this earth and turn the ministry over to
the men he trained, much like sons. As he talked with His disciples, His
sons, about His upcoming death He provided them words of assurance and
John 14:1-6, ďDo not let your
hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are
many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to
prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will
come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You
know the way to the place where I am going."
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so
how can we know the way?"
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one
comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is preparing a place for us in His Fatherís house, Heaven. He
will come and claim what belongs to Him and we will be there with Him. We do
not have to live separated from our heavenly Father. We know the way; Jesus
Christ. Let Jesus instill a passion in your heart for living in a way that
would please your heavenly Father. Jesus is that way, that truth, that life.
Remember the man who you call dad this week. Thank him for the
passion he put in your heart for the things you love. Also remember your
heavenly father and the place he has for you. Turn to him to get you through
the days ahead. Trust Him with your very life. God Bless, Rev. Don
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD
Stayed close to home this weekend, headed out Thursday night to
Thompson with the hope that the weather would cooperate and we would get
some racing in. The weather had other plans and 10 laps into the 50 lap Late
Model extra distance feature the rain came. Having no hope of drying the
track and finishing the racing they called it a night at 8:30.
I did have a chance to talk with a couple of the young guns that
tested Monday at Bristol , Rowan Pennink and Woody Pitkat. Both confirmed
what we had heard, FAST! Laps were being turned approximately 4 seconds
quicker than at Stafford ís half mile. Just the thought of how quick that is
boggles the mind. We thought Concord was fast, Bristol is even faster. The
speed requires that the equipment is top notch. If there are cars out there
that canít maintain the speeds they will easily become very dangerous to
have on the track. The closing speed and reaction time will be kicked up a
notch. While you canít flat foot it all around there is only a split second
burp of the throttle in the center of the turn required to keep your car in
Another challenge will be correcting your car when it gets out of
shape. Some of those testing learned the hard way, against the wall. I was
talking with Glenn Reen about his adventure. It ended up that the banking
helped him into the inside wall as he tried to correct getting loose in the
turn. The car was done and needed to be clipped. Rowan explained that only a
very minor correction was needed. If you correct like you are used to you
will be making acquaintances with the wall quickly.
I think the top teams will find a comfort zone that they can race
at. It remains to be seen if there will any issues when you get 43 cars out
there with lapped traffic. I canít wait to see the show.
Friday I headed off to Stafford despite the rain. Some didnít
bother and missed another legendary Modified race. Keith Rocco and Ted
Christopher put on a show as they swapped the lead back and forth sometimes
with the lead changing three times a lap. Doug Coby and Jeff Malave had
front row seats as they followed in third and forth. Both were sure
something would happen and they would need to take evasive action. Keith and
TC didnít flinch and with ten laps left Keith took the lead for good. Let
the record show this rivaled the Sunoco Modified Race that opened the season
So far this year we have seen some classic action, donít let the
forecast keep you home, get out to the track and watch your racing live and
The #6 Sunoco Modified team at Thompson lost a family and crew
member, Greg Cooter Hopkins, this week. Please keep them in your thoughts
and prayers as the deal with their loss.
Be a witness for our
Lord with the ministry decals and apparel. See them at the Online Apparel
Store at www.RWJM.org.
Call us with your prayer and counseling needs and list all your prayer
needs, no matter what part of our racing family you are in, with the Racing
Family Prayer Request Page
www.rwjm.org/page/prayers.php also send your prayer request by mail.
Until next time, remember that God loves you, we love you and
Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing. GOD BLESS.
Mail reaches us at Racing with Jesus Ministries, PO Box 586,
Tolland, CT 06084. Check our weekly printed pages in "Area Auto Racing
News", the East Coastís largest weekly racing paper" See our on-line Apparel
Store for subscription information. Check our home page
www.rwjm.org for past
articles. We invite you to input your thoughts as you sign our Guest Book.
Please remember, we can only do what we do because of your prayerful
Numbers 6:24-26 "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord
make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face
toward you and give you peace."
May God always Bless you, everyday in everyway. Rev. Don
DEBBIE AND CHRIS McMURRAY - from Catskill NY are celebrating
their 4th wedding anniversary.
CHRIS & LORI HALSTEAD - Point Pleasant, NJ ProStock driver at Wall
Stadium and wife celebrate anniversary No. 10.
DENNIS & PAT PUNCH - This Hickory, NC Wolf Head's Oil NNS Public
Relations/ Team Manager pro and wife have their 25th anniversary. Dennis is
also ESPN's Dr. Jerry's brother.
STEVE & ESTHER DEVINE - This Lebanon Valley Speedway Modified driver and
wife from Danbury , CT complete 25 laps together.
TOMMY BARRON - Ontario, NY driver of the dirt ProStock 28T at Fulton
WAYNE SAVLUK - Lisbon, CT former Mod/ProStock driver; proprietor of
PAUL SURPRENANT - Agawam , MA NASCAR Whelen Modified Series driver.
ELAINE LaLUMIERE - Jefferson, NH wife of former ACT driver Rene.
GIL HEARNE - Hueytown, AL born retired multi-time Wall Township Speedway
JOE MAMMOLITO - Long Island retired Modified Series driver.
GAYLE FERREE - From Saxonburg, PA is the wife of Ed; championship Big
Block LM dirt driver.
JILL OKULA - Daughter of Wayne, Team manager for the #28 King Racing
Modified and Charger Driver for #67 - Riverhead Raceway & Sharon.
SCOTT RIGGLEMAN - Howell Township , NJ ARTS Truck championship driver.
JERRY COOK - Six time NASCAR Modified champion from Rome , NY , now in
the Safety Department of NASCAR in Charlotte , NC .
RON HORNADAY, JR. - Palmdale, CA NNS/CWTS driver.
DAVID HUTTO - Rock Hill , SC NASCAR driver.
JODY TANNER - Portland , OR NASCAR West driver.
BRIANNE LEHMAN - The daughter of Smithville, OH AARN columnist "Doc"
DAVE SUKUP - A son of retired Midget owner, Joe Sukup, of Schodack
Landing , NY .
TYLER HEARN - Son of famous dirt Mod driver Brett.
CHRIS JONES - New Milford, CT NASCAR Modified driver.
BOB SLOTTER - PA asphalt Modified driver.
PHIL PARSONS - Detroit, MI Former driver now TV commentator.
JUDY WIBBELSMAN - The wife of RWJM advisor Dick, down in Gainesville
JAY SAUTER - West Salem , WI born, Mooresville, NC NASCAR CWTS/NNS
DAN JIVANELLI - Hampton Bays, LI Riverhead Raceway and Legends
JEFF WARD - Glasgow, Scotland born, now San Juan Capistrano , CA IRL
RED SEAVER - Stafford Springs , CT member of the Brad Hietala WAARS
SK Modified team at Stafford .
PAT JONES - Enfield, CT Brad Hietala fan.
ROGER TREICHLER - Retired D.I.R.T. Hall of Famer.
MELISSA RESNER - Wife of Riverhead LM team owner Richie.
*** REMEMBRANCES ***
Rev. Pat Evans - This was the Founder of RWJM's Birthday, please
remember his wife Betty today.
*** NEW BEGINNINGS ***
BILL McKELVEY - Passed away on June 7 at the age of 69. Bill was a
master welder, who worked with several top racing chassis builders such as
Buckley, Shaw and Stallard. He also fielded winning Micro-Sprints at
Delaware 's Airport Speedway; and contributed his talents to the restoration
of the famed "Brief Encounters" dragster. Card of condolence may be sent to
his wife Dorothy, to: P.O. Box 9692 , Newark , DE 19714.
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RACING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES
PO Box 586
Tolland, CT, 06084
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Racing With Jesus Ministries Website
Don Rivers / Racing With Jesus Ministries