Finish Line Chaplain – Great Expectations – DTD Exclusive


As I sat down contemplating where to begin with this column. sad news of a great long time sponsor and team owner’s departure from this life came to me.

Gerald Haers spent a lot of his adult life sponsoring drivers in the Modified division, one of whom is his own son Justin. Gerry, the owner of Phelps Cement products, began sponsoring Bobby Podolak several years ago and his involvement in racing budded from there. Aside from racing, he was a husband, father, and grandfather to a great family that will definitely be experiencing the pain of loss, and the grief caused by loving deeply and having to release Gerry into the care of the Lord. We at the Finish Line Chaplain ministry extend our deepest condolences and offer the most heartfelt prayers to the Haers family, and everyone else that knew and enjoyed Mr. Gerald Haers friendship.

Last Friday I made my way to my Friday night stomping grounds to see what kind of action would unfold at Brewerton Speedway. I wasn’t disappointed, as three new winners for the 2019 season won in their respective divisions. Chris Hile drove away from his Tracey Road Equipment Modified competitors early on in the 35 lap feature. Even though he felt some heat on a few restarts near the end he was able to hold off Jimmy Phelps for the win, with Tom Sears finishing third.

Sportman action saw Alan Fink pad his points with another win in the first feature over Jeff Prentice and Zach Sobotka. A rookie with only 3 prior races at the D-Shaped Demon started on the pole and led every lap of the second 25 lap Sportsman feature. Ryan Dolbear is no stranger to winning, but took a long sabbatical between his Quarter Midget career and his Sportsman debut. It looks like he’s going to make strides in this division as he cuts his teeth in the full size car.

Kyle Demo also had a storied career in Quarter Midgets as a younger boy, but made a fresh start in the Mod Lite class this year after a number of years out of the driver’s seat. He was able to wheel his way into victory Lane to claim his first ever Brewerton Speedway Mod Lite feature last Friday.

I’ve seen some great racing over the years, but last weekend one of the best feature events I’ve ever witnessed took place at Fulton Speedway in the Tracey Road Equipment 358 Modified division. First, kudos to Billy Whittaker for running up front for so many laps before a caution period stole his big lead from him.

After the green flew again a battle broke out which led the front runners through heavy traffic with some amazing driving by the top five. The closing battle between Rob Bellinger and eventual winner Larry Wight had the crowd on their feet. Slide jobs, traffic blockers, side by side sometimes 4 wide, the last five laps of the feature were unbelievable on the super fast surface created by a rain delay.

Wight was able to win at the line as Bellinger charged after him in second. Whittaker finished third, with Glenn Forward fourth and Ron Davis III rounding out the top five.

The Sportsman put on two great features as well on the racy track. Casey Williams was able to race to the front to win the first Sportsman 25 lap main event over Jackson Gill and Addison Bowman, while Bob Henry Jr. won the second feature in the Josh Livingston owned 10 car. JJ Courcy continued to show you can run up front without a huge budget in the 602 Sportsman class, finishing second with Charlie Tibbits in third.

I left after the Modifieds but not without seeing a few drivers long the way. Some were smiling ear to ear because of how much fun they had racing a tacky track, but others told stories of woe and despair over the way some drivers roughed them up to gain or hold their positions. That can get expensive, and old, when you lay it all out there to bring a competitive car to the track with high expectations.

This brings me to a point. Disappointment is always the result of unfulfilled expectations. To illustrate this I have to allow myself go be a little transparent.
Sometimes I’m my worst critic.

What about you? Do you beat yourself up during the times your performance falls short of your personal expectation? I have to wonder how that appears to others. What does it say about our self perception?

If God is long suffering toward us, full of mercy, and abounding in grace shouldn’t we also be? Don’t be so hard on yourself. Delight yourself in the Lord and He’ll give you the desires of your heart. That’s because our ability to express genuine delight in who He is pales in comparison to His ability to delight in us.

So, let God arise and His enemies be scattered in your self perception. You are made in His image, and through His son you can regain His likeness…

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
I Timothy 1:15-16 NKJV”

Next weekend I won’t be able to attend either Brewerton or Fulton Speedways because of ministerial commitments at an event called Passion of the ‘Cuse. I’ll be back at Utica-Rome Sunday for the Dirtcar 358 Modified Series 100 lap tour event. Until then, if you have any needs I can help with send me a message on Facebook at Finish Line Chaplain, or email me at