Simply put, the 2012 Indianapolis 500 for Kingdom Racing was incredible. Moreover, it was so before we ever got to the specter of Race Day. Even in all its glorious splendor and historical pageantry, the actual running of the 500 was to our entire month-long ministry outreach like the period at the end of this sentence, merely a terminating punctuation to an amazing journey.
Kingdom Racing shifted gears for this year’s schedule at Indy. We hosted families nominated through a program called Miles of Smiles and shared the love of Christ with them on a daily basis. Rather than handing out hero cards from a booth by the Museum, Kingdom Racing engaged deeply and directly with the souls God sent before us. The impact for Christ was immeasurable, yet definitely noticeable. It’s one of the phrases we use most often at Kingdom Racing, that if we reach just one soul for Christ, then the entire effort will have been worth it. After beholding the works of God throughout the month at Indy, there isn’t a one among us that can say that measure has not been met. The powerful grace and joyful love of Christ was evident in those we shared fellowship with throughout our visit.
As mentioned, the Race itself was almost anti-climactic. That’s not to say it was unimportant though, because our partnership with Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports on the Nos. 77 and 99 cars is the hook that brings people in to ask about Kingdom Racing. And in learning about Kingdom Racing, they are hearing the story of Christ in our ordinary lives and how He can be a wonderful and amazing part of theirs. That is the entire mission of Kingdom Racing, “Deliver God’s Word Through Motorsports.” God’s Word comes first, as does the kingdom before racing.
We wrapped up our “official” ministry schedule the day before the Race at the INDYCAR Ministry’s Second Annual Indy 500 Breakfast. There, we hosted one of the families from earlier in the month who closely touched our hearts as well as one of America’s “Wounded Warrior” soldiers from the war on terror along with his wife and kids. On the morning before the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, we were honored to break bread and fellowship with those who God set before us in the shadow of the most storied race track in the world. To see how God is using the draw of INDYCAR racing and the Indianapolis 500 to touch lives and bring people closer to Him is awe inspiring. To be even a tiny part of His mighty works at the Speedway is incredibly humbling.
Kingdom Racing drivers, Townsend Bell and Simon Pagenaud, finished 9th and 16th respectively in what many pundits and fans are calling one of the most exciting and enjoyable Indianapolis 500s in recent memory. In that regard, we’re going to have to take their word for it because until we all get settled back home and can watch the replay on television, the race experience at the track stands in stark contrast to the one that plays out in living rooms. As for Kingdom Racing though, we spent that day reveling in what God had done at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout May. Race Day became a celebration of all the toilsome labor put in during the previous weeks and months, every bit of it in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
To say that the 2012 Indianapolis 500 was a success for Kingdom Racing would be underwhelming. It was an absolute Victory for Christ! On the surface, yes, we had two cars in the race, one in the top ten and another not far behind. Both cars finished the race in what was one of the hottest 500s in history. The Race did set a new record for the number of lead changes. In the gift shops all around IMS, people could actually buy replica SHM jerseys with the Kingdom Racing logo on them for the first time. That was very exciting! But above all else at the end of the day, we walked away knowing that God had touched many lives through the valiant efforts of Kingdom Racing, Miles of Smiles, and Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, each of which God constructed of His own design.
After every Indianapolis 500, and beyond the vibrant victory celebration for the winning team, you also see a lot of disappointment. Many thousands of hours are poured into every team’s effort, thirty-two of which come away without a win. Without the right foundation, that can be a terrible letdown in defeat. The most salient point is that though we did not come away with an Indianapolis 500 win, Kingdom Racing was still victorious in a race that is far more important than the greatest race on the face of the planet, the race to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ for all of eternity. And in that, every single one of us got to raise our prayers in triumph and taste the sweet flavor of His Glory. Amen to that and on to Detroit!
All for Him, we are… KR.
As Christ Leads,