Tag Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

A NEW YEAR

Welcome to the beginning, the beginning of a new set of numbers on the calendar that tell us the slate is wiped clean, a time to begin again. It is common to look at the calendar for guidance to the timing of things but in reality each day brings us the chance to begin again. As we look ahead with hope and anticipation let us not forget where we have been and what we have accomplished. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The anticipation of a new season has many faces; some good, some bad. For the most part a chance to begin again, wipe the slate clean and start over is welcomed. We forget our past shortcomings and failures. We count the lessons learned and commit them to memory. We make resolutions to travel down a different path, embrace new habits, and embark on new journeys. The positive energy that comes with renewal is great and can be a significant motivator. I encourage you to plug into it and let it help sustain you as you guide your life to new adventures.

Racing falls into the category of a calendar year sport, it starts and finishes in the same calendar year. That makes it easy to keep track of things. How many years have you been racing? Easy just subtract the year you started from the current year and you have the answer. I was thinking of that as I sat down to write this column. I’ve been at this for almost 15 years. Back in 2004 when Brother Pat’s health was failing he asked me to help him with the column. I agreed but the truth be told I was very intimidated. Funny how a white sheet of paper can be so powerful. I remember his help with those first few as I would write something, send it to him and he would use it to make something readable. In time he released me and let me run on my own. What a tremendous gift he gave me.

I think as we reflect on where we come from there might be someone in your past like Pat. Someone who took you alongside guided you through your first few efforts and then let you run on your own. What a gift we have received. We have had the benefit of someone’s life lessons learned given to us and allowed us to move forward. When we reflect, remember those who came before and paved the way. Those who were willing to help us learn the ropes. Those who fought the battles so we could win the war.

I wonder if we fully understand the blessing of having someone show us the way, a teacher. I see them back there watching the things we do with the information they gave us, wanting to see us succeed and prosper. They remain available to guide and counsel, all the time looking out for our wellbeing. The hardest part for them is watching as we make mistakes, knowing they cannot save us from them. They understand the challenges and hurdles we must overcome on our own. But yet they are there, watching waiting, ready to pick us up, dust us off, or maybe give us the kick in the shorts we need to keep going. They want nothing more than to celebrate our success with us. They want nothing more than to see things continue for another season.

This last year has been particularly hard as many of those types of people have left us. People who taught us the ropes, people who encouraged us to keep going, people who had our back and covered our butts. I am truly thankful for them and hope you would be also. Give some thought to who those special people are in your life. Surprise them once in a while by turning around and thanking them. Oh they are there watching and if you look quick enough you’ll see them.

We lost a good friend this past week, one who fit into that category. You know you are in that category when people seek you out and want to be with you. At the track he was intimidating, rough looking and menacing. Inside he had a heart of gold. Larry “Grub” Solbo was more than a member of the racing community, he was a big part of its heart. He wasn’t an angel and had his share of experiences with violating the rules but he genuinely cared for people. He wanted the best for you. He was one you were glad to see after you realized the exterior appearance was covering the biggest heart. He had your back.

We were privileged to know the other side of Grub, he spent many times talking with us chaplains about this and that, personal stuff. He always sought us out and wanted to know how we were doing. He would ask if anyone needed “taking care of”, you know the way a guy who looks like Grub would “take care” of things. We would say no, we’re good. He teased me about my “scooter” telling me I needed to step up my game if I wanted to ride with him. We built a close relationship with Grub, as we do with many in the racing community, and we were there for him in his time of need. As he faced his diagnosis and the finality of life he sought out the Lord and we were there to make introductions. I am confident in knowing we will meet again. Grub’s name was written in the book of Life.

John 3:16-17; NLT, “For this is how God loved the world: He gavehis one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Hebrews 9:27; NLT, And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.

When we face the reality of life, it ends, we need to remember there is a loving God who wants us to be with Him. He desires that so much that he provided a way to overcome the obstacles, sin, that separates us. He provided a sacrifice in Jesus that covers us. We were able to reach out to Grub and help him know the grace that God offers. We were available and ready to pray with him as he accepted the gift of salvation. There is no greater gift that we can receive.

Remember the times we had, let that inspire us to move ahead. Remember the road other’s walked for our benefit and let that motivate us. Remember God and his gift of grace, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and let that save us.

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.

With a Little Help From My Friends

                We have been talking about relationships, relating and building community. I wanted to share one of the truly inspiring stories of this past race season with you. RWJM has played an important role in delivering a blessing to one of our racing community members. We are thankful for those who provided the blessing. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The racing community is a pretty close-knit family and many times we come together to help one another. Sometimes though we don’t know the true needs of someone until it is brought to our attention. For the past few years a member of our community struggled to figure out how he could continue to be a part of the racing scene. He is wheelchair bound and his van was in need of replacement. The cost was staggering, especially considering his condition limited his ability to secure the resources needed.

Rick Raducha, you know the smiling guy in the wheelchair, has been a fixture at race tracks up and down the East Coast for many years. He also has been instrumental in securing sponsorship for many racers through his company Driver Connection. If you have never seen Rick in person you wouldn’t even know of his condition. He is not one to let his condition limit his ability to be a contributing member of society and the racing community. Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Brittle Bone Disease, has rendered his body into a twisted resemblance of what it should be. He has accomplished much more than many thought he could.

You can imagine the weight on his shoulders as he tried to figure out how he could replace his van. With much encouragement he shared his need with the racing community unsure if there might be enough help to replace his wheels. Many came forward, a little bit here and a little bit there. He saw the funds multiply and it allowed him to dream that it might just be possible. When enough funds were available he ordered a van and started the process of getting all the special equipment on order that would allow him to drive it.

The 2018 season started and there was a gap that needed to be filled. This is where friends came in. A Modified owner with a big heart decided to take a leading role in getting the final piece of funding in place to make Rick’s van a reality. True to his word he delivered the funding needed to pay the final invoices and Rick took delivery of his van in late October. This wouldn’t be possible without a little help from his friends!

Let me take a moment and share a little. We are created in such a way that if we are truly living, it involves being connected with others. A give and take is necessary. True fulfilment and satisfaction comes when we share our resources to meet the needs of others. There are those who see and meet the needs and unfortunately there are those who don’t. There are some that say they want to help and those that help. We need to rise up and move beyond ourselves. We need to not only be touched by the needs of others but actually do something about it. I encourage you to follow through on your words and actually do something.

Throughout this process many had the opportunity to spread the cost out so that the burden didn’t fall on a few. Some even made commitments to help. In the end there wasn’t enough. What could have been a celebration for the entire racing community fell to a few. I am thankful to those who followed through with their commitment and made this a reality for Rick. I am reminded of the passage from God’s Word;

2 Corinthians 8:10-15, (NLT); Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it.  Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.  Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. As the Scriptures say,

“Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,
and those who gathered only a little had enough.”

We need to remember that life is worth living when we help those around us who are in need. That is how we build community. We lose so much when we focus our lives on ourselves. The end product of self-centered living is a vacancy in our hearts. We may have many things but there is still a void. We need to spend our lives filling the lives of others, only then will we be satisfied and fulfilled. Giving is more blessed than receiving.

There are so many individuals and companies that made this a reality. Take a look at the list that adorns the back window of

Rick’s new van, it lists the names of those who gave so generously. Underneath it the quote from a Beatles song, “With a little help from my friends”. The song reminds us that we will get by with a little help from our friends. Here are a few friends that had a big part in making this a reality.

First and foremost; Grandpa Blewett was instrumental in getting this over the finish line. I talked with him about why he felt so strongly about it. He said it is the right thing to do. He commented more than once about the smile Rick always has on his face. He would ask me “What does he have to smile about?” He wondered out loud many times how inspiring Rick, his smile and laugh were. What’s he got to be so happy about? I think the answer lies in the choice Rick made not to let his condition limit him.

This past weekend Rick visited Wall Stadium for part of the Turkey Derby. Although the cold was painful for a person with his condition he wanted to say thank you in person to Grandpa and the Blewett family. Rick has shared with me the overwhelming appreciation he has for everyone who made this a reality. He is overcome with the generosity of others. His heart is full of emotion and thankgiving.

We also need to recognize Valenti Ford in Mystic CT for getting the van spected out, ordered and delivered. They also helped get the van up to the next company w want to thank, Advanced Wheels, mobility for everyone, in Granby CT. They met the challenge of outfitting the van with a lift, driver’s seat and hand controls customized for Rick. As I understand it this was the first time that a van of this type was outfitted with the specialized equipment that folks like Rick need. As anyone who has every built anything the first time that presents all kinds of new challenges to overcome. Between the two they were able to figure it out and get the van equipped.

What would Rapid Rick’s Race Car Red Rocket Ship be without a little customizing? Don Derosier and the team at Connecticut Tire outfitted it with some sweet new wheels. Our friend Shawn Monahan and his team at Critical Signs provided the vinyl to say thank you to all those who had a part in bringing this from need to reality.  Whelen Engineering put the icing on the cake, emergency lighting. Whelen added flashing yellow lights when the lift is in operation, ground lighting around the van, and lighting to illuminate the lift for safety. Rick now has a state of the art, safe van to travel in for the next 20+ years.

Last weekend he headed south in his new van to the warmth of Florida. A stop in Jersey at Wall Stadium to meet the Blewett’s then off to Charlotte and Florida. We want to send our best to Rick and a sincere thank you to all who contributed to making this amazing gift a reality. I am thankful for those who cared enough about Rick to make this happen.

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.

Racing With Jesus-Reflecting

The season is over for most of us. There are a few special events to run but for the most part our champions have been crowned. How did this season work out for you? Did you take time to enjoy all you have been blessed with? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

One of the great things in racing is that we get to race. Not everyone gets a chance to do what they have a passion for. There are many that don’t have the opportunities we have been blessed with. Have you ever stopped and thanked God for all he has provided?

At this time of year the thought that comes to mind is how thankful we need to be for what we have been blessed with. We need only to look around and see others who do not have the opportunities to do what we do.

Reflecting on the time we spent at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the Sunoco World Series of Racing. The event, like many we serve, was full of many opportunities to touch the lives beyond the track. Allow me to share some of the “behind the scenes” happenings. One special opportunity was that we were able to get the teams and officials together to encourage a special friend of the Whelen Modified Tour as he recovers and deals with some medical challenges.

We also had a member of the modified community facing a difficult diagnosis without much hope on the horizon. We were able to come alongside, provide encouragement and lift them up in prayer.

We have been involved for some time with helping a member of the racing community secure new transportation. We were able to deliver the news that the resources have been secured to make the final payment. The van would be delivered debt free to him. We always need to remember that no matter how difficult things seem for us there are others who are dealing with more challenging days.

In addition to what is going on behind the scenes there are things happening right in front of our eyes. As many know the leadership at Thompson is in transition. This was the final weekend that many who make up the team at Thompson would be together. As you can imagine the challenge of pulling together the Sunoco World Series but add to that the weight of saying goodbye adds to the challenge. We were able to be there in a supporting and encouraging role to the staff.

As I looked over the line of Track Safety Workers assembled on the front stretch before the invocation each day my heart went out to them. As they stood proud, ready to serve there was someone missing. Earlier this year one of their own was taken home. Many of them shared how much his presence was missing. Even those who stand by to protect us need support and encouragement. We were able to stand alongside and hold them up.

We also get to do some cool stuff for others. In addition to the race weekend this was a significant weekend for several race families; McDermott, Gagner, Posocco and Palko. On Friday night I had the honor of officiating the wedding for Cam and Lauren, now Mr. and Mrs. McDermott. Following that up on Sunday night I officiated the union of Ryan and Kaitlyn, now Mr. and Mrs. Posocco. It is always a wonderful time to celebrate new beginnings and being a part of the milestones in the lives of those we serve in the racing community.

Speaking of milestones Friday, October 12 marked a significant day for Chace Bennett. If you recall three years ago we joined the “Race for Chace” to encourage Chace as he faced treatment for Leukemia. Chace is the son of Michael and Lindsey Bennett; Michael a Late-Model Champion at Stafford Motor Speedway. We have stood beside Michael and Lindsey along their journey with Chase. He is my Superhero! On Friday October 12, 2018 he had his last treatment. What an awesome milestone to celebrate.

These are just some snapshots of what our team was able to be a part of over World Series Weekend. There were many others and each day in each of our lives there are significant events that might seem to go unnoticed. One of the things that we cannot let escape our attention is that we are truly blessed to be able to go out and race. The freedom to do what we enjoy doing. I remind you not to take it for granted, give something back.

As Christians we have been blessed with a Lord and Savior. We are reminded of the love that God has for us and the provision he made for our salvation. Paul reminds us how we should live our lives.

Ephesians 5:1-2; Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

We should live a life of love, but what does that mean? It means we should have compassion in our hearts for those who are less fortunate. We should be kind and forgiving. We should be willing to make some sacrifices to help others out. We need to be willing to serve. To borrow from my wedding ceremony;

Ephesians 13:4-8a; niv; Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Let me encourage you to take this time to reflect on all that you have been blessed with. If you need to be reminded, take some time and serve those who are less fortunate. Make a sacrifice this harvest season and you will enjoy it more than you ever have before. Show others the love that God showed to you. Remember; but for the grace of God there go I.

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.