Sunday after another morning rain the weather cleared and the track prep crew went to work. That gave us a relaxed block of time to hold our annual Racer’s Chapel. With the addition of an anointed worship leader accompanied by a multi-talented guitarist the stage was set for a great word about God’s grace by Chaplain Ed Harkin. After a closing prayer the DIRTcar Sportsman and DIRTcar Pro Stocks were called to the track for their 75-lap features.

After a brief intermission the Billy Whittaker’s Cars 200 opening ceremonies were under way. The race was full of surprises, but a lap 176 crash in turn three had the fans on the edge of their seats. Billy Decker, Ryan Godown, JaMike Sowle and Carey Terrance are all involved. Godown’s car was pinned against the turn three wall facing the wrong direction, while Terrance went for a wild ride flipping violently before his car came to rest on its left side facing the track near the turn three wall. Both drivers got out of their cars under their own strength, and went to the infield to be checked out by the medical team.

Peter Britten led the field to the green to resume racing, and the last 24 laps were all about racing. Several teams had been pitting in the laps between 150 and 176 when cautions came out, and based on some driver’s ability to hold a line around the middle or top of the slicked up track I’d have to guess they changed to softer right side tires to get more grip for the shortened run.

As several cars throughout the field were advancing positions, Matt Sheppard began to engineer a run that would have the back stretch fans on their feet. As Britten was racing the lap car of Adam Roberts Sheppard was able to make a move to get by Larry Wight for second. From the grandstands in the backstretch we had a front row seat for the race winning charge Sheppard made to pass Britten on the outside entering turn three on the last lap, taking the lead and going on to win the Billy Whittaker’s Cars 200. Britten finished a close second with Larry Wight third, Stewart Freisen fourth, while Jimmy Phelps rounded out the top five.

In retrospect my hat is off to the officials and administrators that organized and ran every event known as Super DIRT Week, from every satellite show which began at Utica-Rome on Tuesday, to the final event at Oswego. I saw great racing, and well timed events considering the high car counts and sometimes uncooperative weather. I’d like to add that the complete cooperation of the drivers and their teams at each event helped immensely as cooperation between officials and racers was at a peak level.

I also want to offer gratitude to the men and women “behind the curtain” that you hopefully never see, but emerge quickly and professionally should their services be required. The safety crews and medical staff that assure every team they can race as hard as they want, and someone will always have their back should something go wrong, always deserve recognition but never seek it. Thank you for serving in that capacity so diligently.

The thoughts I left with as I pulled my car onto City Line Road to head home were “this is the best run Super DIRT Week I’ve ever attended”, and “that was the best finish to any 200 I’ve seen at Super DIRT Week.”

Thinking about it reminds me of something I’ve been taught as a minister, and try to practice in my service for the Lord. Paul was teaching the Church in Corinth about spiritual gifts, and the use of tongues in the church, when he concluded with this statement:

“Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40 NKJV”

The word “decently” in this verse can be translated honestly, or decently, in reference to someone’s character.

The word “order” here comes from a Greek word meaning a fixed succession of rank, as in military or civic rank and file.

Paul was saying that we should let everything we do be done by upholding our character, in order of our station in life. That simply means we do our best to uphold our character in all we do from the position we hold in the scheme of things. That’s really how God engineered is to win at life. Paul said:

“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above–spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].

Everyone at this year’s Super DIRT Week event displayed to each other, the fans, and the non-racing related media what “decently and in order” looks like in the racing world. Again, thank you to my peers. You all rock!

I also want to personally thank everyone that came to the Finish Line Chaplain Racer’s Chapel on Sunday morning. That’s just a small piece of what we do, but a lot of effort goes into planning and preparing those services. The music was acoustically raw and beautiful, Ed’s message about God’s grace was well studied and spoken, and the response of people who experienced the presence of God there was phenomenal. Thanks to God for showing up and touching lives.

I’ll be at Weedsport next Sunday for another go at the World of Outlaws Shootout. As our season winds down our commitment to you never ceases. We will remain faithfully committed to be available for you during the off season when the dust settles on the 2017 race season. If you need anything email us at, or message us on Facebook at Finish Line Chaplain