By KEVIN WESTCOTT
Thursday morning I was up at 5AM after a good nights sleep. The hour and fifteen minutes on the road to Oswego seemed to slip by in the predawn darkness. I was pleasently surprised to find no line at sign in, a perfect parking spot, amd time to begin checking in with teams in the pits before the 9AM 358 and Big Block Modified driver’s meeting.
The racetrack is holding up exceptionally well in the unseasonably warm weather. The track crew has completely nailed the racing surface to near perfection. Even though it’s dry and slick because of the weather it has been smooth all day.
The lap times in the timed practice sessions in the Dirtcar 358 Modifieds were so close that a mear 0.2 seconds and change separated the fast time from the 30th fast time. That’s proof that everyone came ready and able to complete.
While I was strolling the pits I came across Kenny Brightbill and had a little chat. He isn’t racing Modifieds at the moment, but his career speaks for itself. He was the first driver in the history of Super Dirt Week to win the Fast Time Award on the Syracuse Mile. I met him 21 seasons ago a the first DIRT Modified race I attended as a Finish Line Chaplain, which was at Rolling Wheels Races at along with the World Of Outlaws Sprint Car Tour. It was great to see him again, which seems to only happen at Super Dirt Week annually.
Tim Fuller was the fastest qualifying 358 Modified for the second consecutive year with a new Super Dirt Week 358 track record of 22.056 seconds.
Matt Sheppard set the Super DIRTcar Modified Series fast time at 21.210 as the track took rubber and got quicker during the last four sessions.
If I had to use one word to describe the Hurricane 100 at Brewerton, it would be WOW! Chad Brachmann came to town to run the satellite shows during Super Dirt Week. In the pits before the action started he told me he didn’t have enough people on his crew to run Oswego so the Hurricane 100 would be his last show of the week. He certainly made it worth the trip by first racing side by side for several laps to gain the lead from Mario Claire.
Later Chad found himself having to race side by side for several laps with Pat Ward. Brachmann was using the bottom while Ward used the extreme top as these two modern gladiators fought for the lead. Brachmann held on after Ward had the advantage at the line for several laps. As the dust still hovered over the Brewerton Speedway Chad Brachmann was celebrating his victory over the rest of the strong competition at the Hurricane 100.
After speaking with several teams in the pits yesterday, both at Oswego and Brewerton, I got the sense from some that they were already looking ahead to the next event and weren’t fully focused on the one at hand. Other’s focus was on the moment they were in, with a “how can I make the car fast for this run?” mindset. Those were the ones that rose to the top.
Wisdom teaches us that we ought to live in the moment with a vision of the future that causes our actions in the moment to produce results toward the outcome we see. Racing, like life, is a series of successive events that lead to an outcome, or outcomes, based on our immediate actions as each stage of the events unfold.
As Jesus taught about life, and the Father’s heart toward us, He said that we should not worry about the things we need in our everyday lives because Father loves and cares for us enough to provide them.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Matthew 6:31-32 NKJV”
In racing He could be telling you not to worry about what tire compound to use tomorrow, or what right rear shock you’ll need, focus on the set up for today, one step at a time. Father knows exactly what you need to be successful.
He went on to say this one thing, that alters the course of a person’s life.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 NKJV”
You can’t find wisdom of any consequence anywhere but in the presence of God. When my son and I were racing, some of our greatest successes came when I or we sat down to pray when we didn’t have clarity in a set up decision.
At one event we were contemplating a gear change. My son didn’t want to change gears because the RPM’s in the heat race were a tad low, but the track was coming to us. I was wrestling with the idea of the increasing bite and the RPM climb the motor would experience. Was it going to change enough to need a gear change? What combination could we throw at it to keep the motor in the “sweet spot?”
After sitting quietly and asking Holy Spirit, He led me to the gear chart, directing me to a subtle change that didn’t seem worth it. When I told my son his response was a classic: “are you sure?” I said “yes, Holy Spirit told me to do this.” As I was making the change we both were a little nervous about it, as anyone that questions the will of God would be, but we decided to go for it.
He went out starting last and pulled a “Rickie Bobby” picking off car after car until he was in the lead, then went on to win by a straightaway. That was his second feature win in the same day, the only time he won back to back features to date.
When I looked at the tachometer I found the RPM’s were in the perfect range between the high and low readings. The car was just free enough to be fast, and the gears were just right to peak on corner entry with a minimal drop in the turns to carry the corner speed and exit momentum.
What if we had ignored the Holy Spirit? We would have probably been over revving the motor and going slower. Taking time to find God’s wisdom in a moment of indecision paid off nicely, as it does every time we seek Him for answers we don’t have.
The principles of His Kingdom work here for us because Jesus Christ established His Kingdom here on earth, and gave believers the right to walk in them under, and as ambassadors of His authority.
He closed this lesson to His disciples by saying this: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34 NKJV”.
Folks, we can learn a lot of things if we’d learn to stop, ask, seek, and knock on the door to God’s heart until we receive, find, and have opened to us His perfect plan in what we’re seeking Him for.
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Luke 11:9 NKJV”
Don’t forget, we’ll be holding a Racer’s Chapel on Sunday. It is scheduled at 10, but we know at this event we have to be flexible, so we may shoot for 9:45 tentatively. We’ll be at the main stage by the Media Center with some musical guests and a timely word from Pastor Ed.
If you need anything between now and then be sure to flag us down. We’re here to serve you.