The Finish Line Chaplain – Freeze Frame – DTD Exclusive

Broken records and historic feats framed the last two days of Super Dirt Week. Paul McMahon set a torrid pace in the STP World of Outlaws time trial session at Rolling Wheel Raceway when the tour invaded the Elbridge NY oval on Saturday night. By circuiting the track for his qualifying times without lifting he was recorded with the fastest speed attained on a dirt track anywhere in the world in a sprint car at an average speed of 145.27 MPH. Sunday two family members parked their cars in victory lane at Syracuse, as James Michael Freisen won the 30 lap Sportsman feature and Stewart Friesen won the NAPA 200. This is the first time in the history of Super Dirt Week that two family members won an auto racing event on the mile in the same day. Freisen took advantage of late race cautions to win his fourth event within six years at the condemned mile. Every division put on a great show for the fans Sunday but, as I walked pit road for one last opportunity to pray for teams before they raced, I was hit with the reality it would be my last stroll along the cinder track.

When Pastor Ed did the invocation and the anthems were sung preceding the NAPA 200 my heart skipped a beat for our old friend the Moody Mile. When World Racing Group CEO Brian Carter asked the capacity crowd to join him as he gave the infamous command “drivers, start your engines” I had to step away to “wipe some dust from my eyes”. Running into a friend with the same “dusty vision” made me realize just how this event at this facility has become a part of me and all those who’ve been a part of it.

I left the Mile early during the 200 to make my way to Rolling Wheels for a Small Block modified and 360 Sprint car show. 31 Sprints from 3 states and Canada signed in. A small potent field of Small Blocks also signed in for the non-sanctioned event.

The track crew did a great job prepping the surface within 24 hours for the Sunday night show. “Racin'” Jason Barney won the first of three heats for the sprint cars. Two modified regulars pulled double duty by strapping into sprint cars in the second heat. Mike Mahaney wheeled the Doug Emery owned 33 from the pole while Ryan Susice had the outside front row in the 18. Mahaney easily won while “the Cobra” Chuck Hebing made his way from last to second place. In the third heat Mike Stelter was quick enough on the trigger on a restart with two laps to go to take the lead and eventual win. Mark Smith drove the sharp looking Mach-1 Chassis house car into second place from near the rear. The Modifieds heats were won by Ryan Arbuthnut and Mike Mahaney.

Next the ten lap 360 Sprint Car B-Main competitors were pushed off to race for the final six starting spots in the A-Main. George Suprick led the field to the checkered flags that set the field for the 25 lap A-Main.

Mike Mahaney jumped into the lead from the outside pole when the 30 lap 358 Modified feature took the green. Mahaney made a quick move to get by Ryan Arbuthnut and began to walk away. 19 laps in Matt DeLorenzo had closed the gap on Ryan Arbuthnut and began racing for second place. Ryan Susice chased from fourth place while Danny Johnson rounded out the top five. By lap 24 Mahaney had lapped up to eighth place. The top five never changed positions after the 25th lap as Mahaney won by several car lengths in the in the caution free 35 lap $4000.00 to win event. After Mahaney’s victory lane celebration the 25 Lap sprint car A-Main rolled onto the racing surface

Irony struck hard as Mike Mahaney lined up on the outside pole once again for the final event of Columbus Day weekend. He had already won his 358 Mod and 360 Sprint heats and the 358 Mod feature from the front row. Mike Stelter led the field to the green to start to 25 lap Main event.

Stelter led the first lap to the first caution as Dave Axton slowed in turn two. On the restart Stelter regained control of the race until lap nine when Mark Smith slipped by entering turn one.

Another caution slowed the pace on lap ten. The top five a this point were Smith, Hebing, Mahaney, Stelter, and Howland. On lap 16 the third caution waved for Ryan Susice as he rolled to a stop in turn four. Smith, Hebing, Mahaney, Stelter, and Kruetter rounded out the top five.

Mark Smith regained control and raced his way into winner’s circle. Hebing was second with Mahaney third, Kruetter fourth, and Stillwagon was fifth. I’d have to say Mike Mahaney may have had a reason to smile at the end of the night after such a successful evening in two divisions.

As I made my way home, I reflected that it was the sixth day in a row I’d been at a race track, after attending nine events at four different tracks within that time. I’m so grateful we have a team of Chaplains that can work together to serve the racing community at an event as large as Super Dirt Week. I’m also grateful for the support of the faithful few that sow finances into our efforts each year. We’ve never ask for it, and have always provided what we do as a service to the racing community because we love the people that race. We serve you so you can experience the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ because of what He did for us, and does for us in our everyday lives. Nevertheless, we thank God for you and pray His best for you as He multiplies the seed you’ve sown to us back to you.

Exhaustion that comes from continuous sleep deprivation and strenuous activity can be unhealthy, which is why by the end of Super Dirt Week there are a lot of minor illnesses setting in on people every year. Fatigue breaks down the immune system’s ability to fight off allergens and viruses that wouldn’t ordinarily affect many people. Compound that with constant inhalation of dust, camp fire smoke, carbon monoxide fumes, and whatever else is floating around and you’ve got a cocktail of illness waiting to attack. I experienced this at my first Super Dirt Week. Congestion and a sore throat maligned me for days afterward.

Then I got smart. I know some things that I didn’t apply to myself when I was there. It’s easy to get distracted at an event like that. I got the symptoms because I let my guard down and allowed them to attack me. The same symptoms always attack each year as I run from here to there and back ministering and building relationships centered on Jesus Christ. They tried again this year. The rainy weather Friday was no help. Neither was the cooler air that came with it. So what did I do about it? I used my God given authority over my flesh and mind to speak health and life into my body, resisting the temptation to allow my mind to think or speak about any of the symptoms as if they had a hold on me.

Instead I spoke to those symptoms with authority and told them that they had no right to me, no hold on me, and had to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave us authority over any enemy that would attack us, even Satan himself (Luke 10:19). Paul taught that authority comes to us as we become members of the body of Christ, which is His Church. That’s not a speaking of joining a church. It’s speaking of giving your heat to Jesus Christ as you place your trust in His redemptive works, and receive your salvation through His death, burial, and resurrection. As you read this prayer that Paul prayed for the Church in Ephesus pay close attention to his language.

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭1‬:‭15-23‬ NKJV)”

The exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. By faith we believe that if He can take up His life and rise from the grave to leave our sins, sicknesses, and lack there, then we can be truly free from those things as we accept and walk in that same power today through faith in Jesus Christ.

Everything named is under His authority and has to bow at His name. All things are under His feet, which means nothing can rise above His authority. This passage also describes the Church as His body, so it also has to mean that even if we see ourself as lowly as the sole of His foot, all things under His authority are under ours as well since He gave us His authority in Luke 10:19. No cold, no allergy, no sniffles, no symptom of sickness can set in unless we as believers open the door to it by unbelief. Once it has a hold on us it’s harder to get rid of. It becomes an unwanted house guest that has overstayed it’s welcome. We have to be more emphatic to remove it. That’s why God gave man wisdom to treat and cure sicknesses. That’s why sometimes I rely both in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ and in the wisdom Of God operating through physicians. Before I go to the doctor, I always appeal to the mercy of God, and call on Jesus Christ’s name for His healing covenant to be upheld. But I also use wisdom to know when to call my doctors. That doesn’t mean your faith is weak. It means godly wisdom is leading you to a natural cure.

You may need a faith “booster shot” sometimes too. That’s okay. We all do. James taught “Is any among you suffering? Let him pray”. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. (James‬ ‭5‬:‭12;14-15‬a NKJV)”

This teaches that the Elders (also translated Pastors) have a special anointing of the Holy Spirit to exercise a higher level of authority over sickness (which, by the way, comes with a greater responsibility to accountability before God). You can and should call for Church appointed leaders to pray for you when you’re too weak or sick to pray for yourself. They will know what to say, how to pray, and the anointing oil will give your faith a point of contact to grab hold of.

I believe that we as ministers of Jesus Christ within the racing community have a big job ahead of us to care for all of your spiritual needs and nurture, because with that comes the responsibility of educating you of the promises and doctrines we’ve been given to govern our lives as believers in Jesus Christ. One Racer’s Chapel at one large event doesn’t prick the surface of what we see ourselves doing for you to help you grow as believers. That’s why I always say that if you have any questions or concerns in your life you can reach me through messenger on Facebook at Finish Line Chaplain.

As you return to everyday life be sure to invite Jesus Christ into it. He’s always near. He sees, He hears, He identifies with, and He understands everything you face every day. When you call His name His response is always “Watch Me. Death couldn’t keep Me down. I’ve got this. Peace.”