By Rev Don Rivers
As activities continue to return to pre-quarantine levels we have had the opportunity to return to some of our customary places. Several of the tracks we serve have had practices and races. We are building momentum as we get back to our regularly scheduled program. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This past week came the announcement that the NASCAR Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will include fans. Delayed from original date it will be run on Sunday, August 2 and we will have fans in the stands. Although it will be limited to 35% capacity this is another step in building momentum toward a full recovery.
This past week Stafford Motor Speedway executed a return to action under restrictions negotiated with the State of Connecticut. From what I hear things went off without a hitch. They sold out the 2,500 available tickets a week ahead of time. They are limited for now to 25% capacity. The staff and management worked very hard to put the framework in place for a return to live racing becoming the first venue in the state to have such a large gathering of people permitted.
Not only were fans in attendance but the paddock was full. I believe 125+ cars were in the garage area and each division enjoyed very healthy car counts. I find it very encouraging that everyone was willing to do what they needed to do to allow the racing to return. Great job by Stafford, the teams and the fans.
Connecticut and New Hampshire are leading the way, building momentum for a return to normalcy. We are all chomping at the bit, like horses in the starting gate, waiting to burst out and run. Sometimes in our anticipation and excitement we can get ahead of ourselves. We will get there but we need to take it a little slower than some may want.
We had a setback this week as one of our chaplains, Bobby Somers, had a medical issue that put a monkey wrench in his return to racing plans. I want to share with you his excitement about being back at the track last week.
“Well we got back to the tracks last week and Mother Nature had her own idea of heats.
It was great to be back at Lee USA in New Hampshire to catch up with people and see the excitement that it just wasn’t practice. Many new faces in the pits and I spoke with many. The crowd filtered in slowly but by sunset looked pretty good for being close to 100 degrees.
Lots of great racing and everyone kept a cool head competing, allowing for some side by side racing and good ole old school racing. The Wrens have put in a lot of great work at Lee so far and they still have a lot of ongoing projects as well.
On Sunday it was the Sahara Desert 150 at White Mountain Motorsport Park. That wasn’t the actual name but it fit well. The temps were 103 degrees and no breeze. The track temp was close to 130 I was told. They had a huge field of 32 cars for the PASS Tour race. The heat decided at lap 95 to start subtracting. Every lap more cars succumbed to the heat causing teams to run out of tires and overheating. At the end it was down to 11 cars and Derek Griffith starting from the rear took the checkered flag.
In between, on Saturday, I spent it with my daughter Sarah who will be getting married in August. After the wedding she will be heading to Alberta to live. This Father’s day I have been truly blessed with an incredible daughter and a Son in law to be. All this down time without racing really gave me time to reflect on family and many others things.
Last season in my absence I entered into a world of severe depression and anxiety to a point I needed hospitalization. During my stay I had a Christian nurse who would check on me and quote scripture passages. Her faith and strength helped me because she got me back to reading my bible and helped restore my faith in Jesus Christ.
With so much going on in today’s world, don’t remain silent in a crisis. Don’t be ashamed if you have anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide or any type of addiction. No matter what, you are loved, not only by your family, but by our creator Jesus Christ. I know it’s tough when you try to get help or get into a facility and they say no beds or a waiting list. I have been there and understand what you’re going through. Don’t give up, thinking you failed and no one wants you! Continue to pray and spend quality time with Jesus. You are an incredible human being.
My first meeting with Rev. Don in Springfield about 10yrs ago, he quoted this verse:
Jeremiah 29:11; For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, and to give you hope and future.
Remember that, God is with you.”
Thank you Bobby for your heartfelt encouragement. Bobby suffered a stroke this past week and a secondary blood clot that had him in ICU. He said he may have jumped the green flag. He has been released this week and is at home recovering. He hopes to have his feet on the ground by the end of the month. Please join us in lifting Bobby up, also remember his wife Vinetta and daughter Sarah.
We are building momentum but let’s not jump the green flag as Bobby put it. We will get there and when we do what a day of rejoicing it will be! Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.