I am coming out of the closet for the blog world so I can openly admit I am a huge NASCAR fan! I have kept it in long enough and it’s time to write about the life lessons one might learn on or at the race track. I grew up going to the Nashville Speedway as a child. Instilled in me at an early age is the love of fast cars, loud engines, the checkered flag, and cheering fans. My memories as child include the dirt track residue bouncing into the stands, bouncing off me and the other spectators. I still remember my inside shaking when each car passed. I didn’t shake from fear but from the reverberation of the sheer horsepower and sounds that shook my little girl body. Whether I watch on television or go to the track, I still get goose bumps when those engines fire.
I feel better sharing that part of my life, now on to the first lesson. A few years ago a successful driver, Danica Patrick, left the INDY circuit to join a NASCAR team full-time. For the most part, NASCAR had been a male dominated sport. The male commentators and drivers were a little skeptical and most had a few comments about her ability to compete at that level. Danica did well but many chalked it up to beginner’s luck or the fact that she joined a successful racing team.
On race day, drivers are selected to have an onboard camera in their car during the race. Unfortunately, the day Danica had the camera in her car, she also had a serious wreck. The camera recorded the entire spin and crash. But it also revealed, she took both hands off the wheel when her car was out of control and in a full spin. It didn’t take long before she faced criticism for removing her hands. The media commented about how the female driver took her hands off, let go, and put her hands in front of her.
The press didn’t waste any time asking her why she let go of the wheel. She didn’t make any excuses but she did make the media look foolish when she explained her actions. As a former INDY driver, she had been trained to let go of the wheel when you start a spin that cannot be recovered. The experts tell the drivers to take their hands off and totally let go. This move keeps your wrists, hands, and lower arms safe. If your hands stay on to the steering wheel you can break bones, or at the very least pull a muscle or tear a tendon. She didn’t let go because she lost control or because she was a weak girl, she let go because it was in her best interest to do so. As a professional driver there was a reason for what she did and guess what? Now many NASCAR drivers are taking their hands off when they are about to crash. That’s one of those times when I am very proud to be a female race fan! Go “Go Daddy Girl.”
Wouldn’t it be great if we could be trained to know when to hang on and when to take our hands off? I would love to be a professional, experienced enough at life, that when everything spins out of control, I would simply take my hands off, surrender to the situation, and let the Lord be in control of the outcome. Psalm 20:6, tells us we can trust the Lord to keep us in the race and that His hand is always on the wheel, “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.” There is danger in keeping our hands in places that really belong to the Lord.
Where in your life are you hanging on to an out of control situation? Will you join the team and wear the “Hands Off Girl” racing uniform? I’m joining and you can know for sure, I’m going to paint Psalm 20:6 on my race car somewhere. See you on the track!