I have four thoughts regarding Pastor Joe Nelms and his ‘controversial’ prayer this past Sunday….but first – watch the video (if you havent already seen it)

Lets get my first thought out of the way. I know that most of the comments are completely from those who have NEVER seen a Nascar race. Do you want to know why? They are up in arms about the public prayer thing…..Dont get me wrong, I completely understand the whole separation of church and state thing, but why are you just now getting upset? As long as I can remember (and Im currently 40 years old and Ive watched ALOT of races) there has ALWAYS been a televised prayer before the National Anthem prior to any Nascar sanctioned race. ALWAYS. So, your argument is moot. Unless you can prove to me that youve been fighting this since Nascar began…..there is no argument to be made.

Secondly, Pastor Nelms prayer is NOT disrespectful. He didnt say this prayer in church. He said it at a racetrack. Again, those who are pointing out his call-outs to sponsors, manufacturers and other various race related things, it is blatantly obvious you know NOTHING about racing. Without sponsors, there would be no racing, which is why the first thing drivers do when they win, is call out every sponsor they have – as well as their manufacturer.

Thirdly, his ‘in the name of Jesus-boogity, boogity, boogity-amen is NOT disrespectful either. You see, when the green flag drops and racing begins, Darrell Waltrip says this. It is a way to say….woohoo its on! Its basically the equivalent of shouting ‘hallelujah’ in church.

Lastly, Ive seen alot of comments regarding his ‘for my smoking hot wife’ quote. Quite honestly, its refreshing that this man loves his wife this much. And in case you were wondering, his wife aint no supermodel. Below is a picture of them together.

And before I close out this blog post, Im disappointed in those who have judged this Pastor, as well as Nascar and their fans based on an Invocation that they didnt even realize occurred in the first place. As Ive mentioned to many of my friends and acquaintances this past week, Nascar is the ONLY sport to televise their Invocations WITHOUT the big mouth announcers talking over them.

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Once upon a time there was a sport that had ravenous fans. Back in those days, drivers had personalities and the stands were packed. But that was then…..this is now.

About 10 years ago, Nascar decided that it wanted to be like other sports and institute a ‘play-off’ system. This created a change in their points system and a created the ‘chase’ out of the last 10 races of the season.

Now, Nascar claims that this change in points would not change who won the championship….and while that may be true, there are many things that this did affect within the points system. One being that usually drivers who finish in the top 10 positions would have better sponsorship opportunities. With this ‘new’ system whoever finished in the top 12 positions would be ‘locked in’ and couldnt finish worse than 12th in points, no matter how they ran in those last 10 races. Prior to this change, anyone could have finished in the top 10 and have additional opportunities.

Another change that is affected by the chase playoff, is the fact that a driver who is first in the points by the time the chase is on (for lack of a better way to put it) can be thrusted out of that spot because another driver has more wins. (i.e. Jeff Gordon/Jimmie Johnson a few years back)

Now, cut to the present…..

Nascar has claimed this ‘have at it boys’ attitude and well, that sounds good on the surface, but apparently they are all talk and no action.

Lets be honest….in Nascar drivers arent allowed to have personality. Drivers have no say. A driver isnt even allowed to be honest after being asked to do so.

When Nascar brought out the ‘car of tomorrow’ they asked the drivers their opinions. One of them gave his opinion and was fined according to all the blogs Ive read today. I dont even like the driver that this involved, but come on!!!! Dont ask a question you dont want answered Nascar.

And not that anyone affiliated with Nascar will ever read this blog post, but to keep the drivers who you fined a secret? How lame is that? Are you afraid that the fans will turn on you more because of your stupidity?

Now, Ive been a race fan for a very long time, but when you change the sport in the way that you have, you lose the fans who grew the sport….Whats more important Nascar? Bringing in new people who dont know the history or keeping the fans who have attempted to keep watching despite your idiocy? Some people may disagree with me, but I know at least 50 people who wont even watch a Nascar race any longer…..including myself.

You wanna know why your seats are empty? Call it the economy….and there isnt much worth $100 admission, let alone a sport thats so hands off for the fans….How about talking about more than 5 drivers for once? You cant bring a cooler of food and drinks in with you….and food and drinks at the track are expensive. Nascar wants a cut of everything, including drivers merchandise – which leads me to another point…

Im a dirt track kinda gal and I know alot of sprint car drivers, and those drivers and their families design their own merchandise. Alot of those drivers use the money raised from tshirt sales to pay for their health insurance. Now thats something I can and will continue to support….I wont be spending my hard earned money on a sport that could care less about the fans.

First, take a moment to read the below (Or refer to linked post) And then, read my update to this post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Just my opinion
First, I would like to start out by saying that I would hope everyone would pray for Jeff and his family…I was not aware of how serious his wreck at Knoxville was until after speaking with Judd. Since hearing the comparison of Jeff’s accident to Kevin Gobrecht’s at I-30, I have been feeling a range of emotions.

Being a fan of many drivers, including Jeff and Kevin, I know how dangerous my favorite sport is. I have seen what happens within the racing community when something happens to one of their own. Organizations like the York County Racing Club raise money for injured drivers, and we, as fans, should support this endeavor.

It still surprises me how many people who boo a certain driver running in Central PA. And while I may not be a fan, this driver’s family is there hearing obcenaties throughout the evening. I have witnessed “haters” threatening his family while he is stopped on the track during a red flag. This behavior is appalling.

Now, we all have our pet peeves at different tracks…but when so-called fans resort to this type of behavior, something has to be done. However, this problem has also surfaced on the various message boards in a different way. Not only do we have this particular issue, but the up-and-comers are facing hate as well.

Granted, some drivers DO need to improve….but the only way to improve is to get seat time. Drivers coming up from one division to another also face scrutiny. Many of these drivers have succeeded in the lower ranks of open wheel racing and moved up appearing at Williams Grove and Lincoln. Those on the message boards criticize these drivers mercilessly.

I am not sure how many of those who are posting actually drive a racecar of any kind, but after hearing the comments, I would doubt they did. Racing is an expensive and dangerous sport…it takes time, effort, and practice to become competitive. I do not have access to a car to offer a challenge like one on the Grove board, but I would challenge any of these “haters” to get 10 laps to see if they could do any better.

UPDATE: Dont you get it? Just because you dont root for someone does NOT mean they cheat. Arent these drivers providing you with your entertainment?

Last night was the final points race for the 410s at Lincoln Speedway. The drama built as Niki Young had problems with his car all night and had to qualify through the consi. Unfortunately, Niki did not finish the consi, but was named the first alternate, and Pat Cooper dropped out to give Niki his spot. Niki had been 3rd in points.

The four drivers in contention: Chris Eash, Brian Montieth, Fred Rahmer and Niki Young

Had Fred Rahmer not gone to Knoxville he probably would have been able to breeze through with some breathing room. Both Eash and Rahmer qualified through their heats, but failed to finish in a handicap spot, and had to start the feature outside of the top 12. Fred Rahmer and Niki Young faced an uphill battle in the feature….with Niki not finishing and Fred going to the pits after an early caution, reporting out for the remainder of the race.

After an entertaining feature that kept the drama building, Alan Krimes came home in victory lane. Brian Monteith was able to finish in front of Fred Rahmer, and was thereby named Points Champion. What a wonderful racing season it has turned out to be!

Copied from Lincoln Speedway Message Board
Feature (25 laps) – 1. 87-Alan Krimes; 2. 89-Cody Darrah; 3. 59-Jim Siegel; 4. 21-Brian Montieth; 5. 6W-Josh Wells; 6. 30-Doug Esh; 7. 22-Greg Hodnett; 8. 17E-Cris Eash; 9. 25O-Aaron Ott; 10. 45L-Scott Geesey; 11. 38N-Nick Schlauch Jr.; 12. 4-John Rudisill; 13. 51-Fred Rahmer (DNF); 14. 5-Adam Lawrence (DNF); 15. 71-Brian Leppo (DNF); 16. 10N-Niki Young (DNF); 17. 71X-Bill Stine (DNF); 18. 9-Craig Keel (DNF); 19. 45-AJ Michael (DNF); 20. X-Bobby Weaver (DNF); 21. 49-Bobby Howard (DNF); 22. 12-Mike Bittinger (DNF); 23. 28-Chad Jumper (DNF); 24. 25-Chad Layton (DNF). No Time

While lurking on the Williams Grove Speedway message boards-as I usually do….I heard about this amazing race a couple of Fridays ago.

During the final laps of the A-Main on August 22nd, Fred Rahmer and Brian Monteith were racing for the lead. Coming down the backstretch, Fred made contact with a lapped car, and — let’s just say, it’s hard to beleive what occurred. Fred never missed a beat – never slowed down – and won the race.

Now, I am really not one who purchases tapes of races-since I would rather attend with that money. Matter of fact, I have 3 or 4 tapes that I purchased from SportsPlus Video and 2 that I taped when TNN came to the Grove for an Outlaw race…we made signs.  http://www.sportsplusvideo.com/

Anyway, after hearing this amazing save from those I know who were at the Grove (and on the backstretch) I HAD to get this race and see for myself. It is a “miracle” that Fred saved his car after riding up the lapped car. Those who were on the backstretch could actually see the bottom of his car. Fred NEVER slowed, racing Monteith for the lead.

Now, I don’t consider myself to be a Rahmer fan, but all I can say is….what a talented driver! Cheers to him on the win. He certainly desrved it.

Another cheer to Fred for the mention of Jeff Shepard. I know the entire racing community wishes him well, but it is special when a fierce competitor recognizes someone.

Wow! All I can say, is wow!  http://www.hoseheadforums.com/forum.cfm?threadID=20212&CFID=14766017&CFTOKEN=6c3aef2632ebccc3-09FF8D48-E7F2-6999-0665FE67027E2FA9

It amazes me that Jeff Shepard fans and the racing community in general have raised enough money to pay off his air ambulance bill AND physical therapy bill.

($17,000 + $12,000 = $29,000) Wow!

I beleive that this really helped the Shepard family. Im sure it alleviates alot of the stress of having the money issue hanging over them while trying to get through a difficult time anyway. Money can certainly stress you out and hinder recovery. If you dont beleive that, talk to me sometime.

Jeff certainly improved enough that he is able to leave the hospital in Baltimore and return home. He will still have to go to therapy several times a week, but being home is a huge improvement.

As I have mentioned many times before, even though I personally know those who didnt root for Jeff, they still came forward to support someone who provided years of racing entertainment. Last Saturday night, when Rahmer came into our section, even those who openly boo him, clapped and gave him money for Jeff.

It is also worth noting that money to help the family didnt all come from Central PA. Not only did racetracks all over the US raise money, but money was raised even in Australia!

Even though it is sad when the racing community has to come together like this, it is also why I love the sport so much.

There is no other sport like this.

I was pleasantly pleased to see EVERY driver collecting money for Jeff Shepard. This is one of the reasons I love this sport so much. The entire racing community comes together to support their own when something occurs.

While at Lincoln on Saturday, I stopped by the YCRC trailor. I was talking to them about those of us donating to honor Jeff – even though the money goes to all YCRC members. During the first Legend feature, there were a page and a half of names donating in Jeff’s honor….by the time they had their heats, there was a considerable amount of racing fans supporting our injured drivers.

Vicki Leppo and Debbie Rahmer both told me that next week, they will be passing the helmet.

I have to say, support for Jeff has been overwhelming. I can only imagine that Shepards garage and Helen and Judd’s mailboxes will be overflowing. Fans have been wearing Shepard shirts to show their support.

Even though there are times when fans and drivers disagree, we can all come together at times like this.