A few weeks ago, my friend Andy asked if I’d help with a charity golf event he was planning that would benefit Moriah Ministries, a ministry he leads. He and his family are dear friends and I jumped at the opportunity to help them. The fact that famed NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip would be at the event was simply icing on the cake and my ticket to getting Sean and Michael to come with me.
(For the non-NASCAR crowd, Darrell Waltrip, or DW, is a three-time NASCAR Cup Series champ. He won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver award twice, was NASCAR’s Driver of the Decade (‘80’s) and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012, among other accolades. Still doesn’t ring a bell? He’s also the voice of Darrell Cartrip from the Pixar film, Cars.)
My assignment was to photograph the event, specifically DW with his foursome, which meant I would have my own golf cart to follow behind their two carts. Sean was more than happy to be my cart chauffer. Michael was assigned Hole 7, where he answered questions for the event participants. Sean, though, had to leave early, so Michael got to be my driver for the last few holes of the day. My boys spent an entire afternoon five feet from DW AND they got to drive a golf cart; to say they had a happy, happy day is a massive understatement.
But all three of us agreed that as wonderful as the afternoon on the course was, the best part of the day was hearing DW talk. Before the golf game started, he spoke for a good 20 minutes; he told some tales about his driving years. But the best story was about how he first decided to thank God after winning a race.
He’d gone into his racing company's parts department to get some goggles. The man who took care of the parts regularly had his Bible out. DW said he never talked to him about it, but this day he said, “Why are you always reading that Bible?” Roger said, “Because I love Jesus and this helps me know him better.” And then Roger said, “Why don’t you consider thanking God after you win your next race?” DW said he thought that was a dumb idea. “Why would I do that? I drove the car!” “Well, just consider it,” Roger said.
DW went on to win the next race. And as he was driving down Victory Lane, his conversation with Roger bubbled up and he couldn’t stop thinking about it. So that day he thanked the three G’s: God, Gatorade and Goodyear. And that was the start of his journey to get to know God.
I know his wife was praying for him. I know lots of other friends were praying for him. I’m sure all of those people had talked with him about the Lord. But God saw fit to use one of the “little guys” working in a massive racing organization to get DW’s attention. And now, when DW tells people about how he came to know Jesus, he talks about the man who read his Bible in the parts department.
What an encouragement to all of us little people; we don’t know how the Lord may see fit to use us. Most won’t influence a multi-millionaire racecar driver. But we do have the opportunity to influence our children or neighbors or co-workers.
I’m thankful the Lord has put DW in such a visible, influential position and that he doesn't shy away from telling people about Jesus. And I’m thankful for Roger and his faithful witness which has, all these years later, been such an encouragement to me.
DW drinks dC. I knew I liked him!
The only picture I have of me and DW. At least I look like I know what I'm doing
with that camera. Mucho thanks to Sarah for loaning it to me!
The Waltrips and McDaniels
The only out-of-focus picture I took all day. What a bummer!
Thankfully, Michael was very understanding.
The cupholders on my golf cart.
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