Saturday night was a night I will not soon forget.
Here in Jackson, MN we are blessed to have the Jackson Speedway. Races are a big deal here in town. On Saturday nights one can hear the races going on…sometimes until 11pm of after. Our mid-summer celebration is called “Race Days”. But in my five years here I had only been to the races once (now I will be going more often).
The track promoter we have has done a phenomenal job this year with a variety of creative promotions. Saturday night was charity night. As part of charity night the track sent out vouchers to all the churches to hand out to people. For every person that bought a ticket and turned in a voucher, that particular church got $5…half the ticket price. I handed out about 80 vouchers…that’s a good chuck of change for Salem Lutheran Church (if all those people showed up).
One of the feature races on Saturday was the “Faster Pastor” race (that’s right…it is just as it sounds)…and I was in it. They put seven of us pastors in these hobby stock cars and turned us lose. And let me tell you…it is quite an experience to be in a powerful piece of machinery like a race car. I was given a quick orientation on how to drive this car and tips on how to maneuver around the track. It was a little unnerving though, not being able to turn my head to see who was around me and not having any mirrors. It was just me and the race car (by the way, we never got over 55 to 60 mph).
We drew numbers for our starting positions and I was fortunate enough to draw #1…the pole position. I got strpped into my car and started it up. The roar of the engine was deafening but exhilarating. After we got out on the track they gave us a few practice laps to get familiar with our car. I quickly realized that it took some strength to drive these cars and hold them on the turns. I also quickly realized the feeling of adrenaline coursing through my body…what a rush. After our practice laps the green flag was waved and off we went. I hit the gas and felt the power of this car. I held up in the turns as advised and hit it on the straight aways. While in turns 3 and 4 on the second to last lap of this 4 lap race I saw my first competitor on my right side…my friend Chris from the Presbyterian Church. As soon as I rounded turn 4 I hit the gas again and off I went. I didn’t see Chris again until I got to the pits.
By the way (and I know you are probably curios)…I WON! I got to go to victory lane; have my picture taken with the checked flag and be interviewed in front of the grandstand. What an incredible experience. I will not soon forget this night. Most little boys dream about being a race car driver (as I did) when they grow up. For me…this was a chance to fulfill a childhood dream…even if it is the only time I do this (but hopefully this race is an annual event now).
Thank you to the Jackson Speedway…not just for letting us pastors race live out a boyhood dream, but for supporting this community and for supporting the churches. I am not sure what we are using the money for yet, but I do know that it is going to go to good use…helping others. Living and serving in a small town definitely has it perks…and this is one of many reasons why I love serving in Jackson.
Praise be to God!