The Finish Line Chaplain – The Calm Before the Storm


The official day one of Super Dirt Week 44 was one of the most laid back days I’ve ever experienced throughout my years in attendance. I arrived early to sign in and didn’t have a long line to wait in. The attendant at the window is a friend of mine and we had a few moments to do a little catching up before I met with Pastor Ed. Our golf carts were ready and waiting with no delay. Ed had set the tent up on Tuesday and I added some of the free hand outs we make available when I arrived at our infield headquarters.

Race teams were still pulling in and locating their pit areas. Temporary “garages” were going up and cars were being looked over with “fine toothed combs.” Campers were setting up in the infield all day long so I had to look up my friend “Spud” Williams and say “hi.” He and his son Mike run the Square Deal Rider’s Club 1/4 mile dirt oval in Harpursville, NY that hosts AMA sanctioned flat track motorcycle racing on Saturday nights.

After a little perusing and spending time with several people I gathered a general sense of their mindset about this being the only time they’ll get to run the mile here a Syracuse. There are many mixed emotions, but one general consensus among the drivers. The event won’t be the same because you can go to any 1/2 mile track in the northeast any weekend during the season and race, but to attempt to conquer the mile makes the extra effort and expense all worth it. Tim Fuller shared a positive perspective of the transition Super Dirt Week will be making in 2016. His opinion is that it will save teams a lot of money because they won’t have to build a special car for one faculty. I agree and add that it may bring more of the budget minded racers that wouldn’t otherwise attend the events because of the need for such a starkly different machine. As sad as the demise of the mile is, it may bring increased car counts to the future of Super Dirt Week.

The other big concern frequenting conversations is the doubts that Glenn Donnelly will be able to produce a race ready facility with ample camping and crowd capabilities to host such an event. I’m personally interested to see how 7.2 million dollars of tax payer funds get utilized in his attempts to make it happen. It all looks good on paper but can it be done? Are there tax penalties if he’s unable to fulfill the his obligation to host Super Dirt Week within first of the ten year contract that was signed? I’m not picking on Glenn. He’s an able bodied promoter and manager, but is time, weather, and cooperation on his side?

After leaving the Fairgrounds behind Ed and I took the road to Weedsport for the Super Dirtcar 358 Series race before having to head home to give his business some personal attention. I went home, enjoyed dinner with my family and set out to attend a home group meeting hosted by my home church, Abundant Life Christian Center in East Syracuse. Every month on the first Wednesday of the month we hold our weekly service in people’s homes on small group settings. Leaders are trained to facilitate the meetings. Our goal is to build a strong sense of community among the over 4,000 people we minister to weekly. The small groups build a more intimate point of contact between God and us and a more comfortable atmosphere for people to share personal struggles so they can find the grace to come through their situations victoriously. If you live in the area and would like to check out what we’re about and what we’re doing you can look us up on the web at

After such a relaxed day at the fairgrounds and such an incredible experience with God and some church family afterward, I was ready for some sweet sleep. Everyone knows Super Dirt Week is not a week you can count on much sleep, so quality is as important as quantity. I woke up this morning ready for the day.

I’ll be standing in for Ed at the driver’s meetings to pray for everyone, as well as at the media meeting. I’ll also be at Brewerton for the Hurricane 100 tonight. Ed’s still downstate running the business that supports much of his ability to serve as the Super Dirtcar Series lead Chaplain, and as head of the Finish Line Chaplain Ministry. He’ll be back at the Fairgrounds this afternoon. Pastor Don Rivers from Racing With Jesus Ministries is coming out to give us a hand because some of our other help isn’t available this year. We always strive to do our best to bring God’s best to you on a personal level, so welcome Don as you would one of us. There’s no competition in the body of Christ. All of us are here to serve you in any way we can to make your experience more blessed.

On that note, it’s all about competition from now through Sunday in Central New York. Time trials start today at the Moody Mile and everyone begins to scramble for advantage. The community within the pits becomes an organized effort to strain every ounce of performance out of every component on the race car. It also becomes a hotbed of strategy between teams and drivers as they calculate fuel mileage and tire wear to help discover the best set up for their cars. Excitement begins to fill the air as times begin to set the precedent of speed for this year’s track conditions. Every team is hoping for a win that will go down in history forever as the last driver to conquer the famed Syracuse Mile.

There’s only one way to get to victory lane. Push the equipment hard enough to maximize what it’s capable of, but not so hard that you forego it’s limits. In the process there has to be a mutual respect for the equipment around you so aerodynamic advantages aren’t lost to bent body panels or worse, wrecked race cars. Mutual respect between drivers is as important as that among teams. You have to understand how another driver races and be able to out drive them in order to win. Knowing how close you can run with someone determines how hard you can race with them. It’s all relational.

That’s how God wired us. We were created for relationships. First, He created us for a dynamic personal Covenant relationship with Himself. He perfected relationship within the triunity of His being, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each are One God, but Jesus is not the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit Jesus. Within themselves they are one in unity, purpose, and Spirit, yet each Person of the Godhead has a different roll within their relationship. We ere added to the mix so God could be a Father to His creation because within Their triunity love was perfected. God first loved us so we could return love for love. He gave us a covenant full of promises He keeps to show His love. The entire Bible is God pouring out His heart to us in a series of “love letters” that reveal His personality, His emotions, His character, and His attributes. His full heart for humanity is reveled through the pages as He builds precept upon precept of His love for us.

The other type of relationship is divinely inspired connections with other people. As we focus on God and live our life for Him we get drawn to other people as much as other people are drawn to us. Divine relationship is mutually beneficial fellowship with a sense of unity end purpose. God perfects divine relationship in marriage between a man and women. All of His divine attributes can be exhibited between the masculine and feminine natures of humanity joined in unity and purpose. They display His attributes through the mutual creativity of the expression of their love for Him and one another.

I’ve always built a foundation for new relationships everywhere I go, and Super Dirt Week has always been a great place to begin lasting relationships. That won’t change with time, venue, or any other transition we may go through. All we have to do is embrace the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love as we experience Him in our everyday lives. I look at very encounter as an opportunity.

Look us up on Facebook at Finish Line Chaplain for updates to our schedules and more information related to our Chapel Service(s) as the week’s schedule gets adjusted.