April 15, 2002

God sends rain, even on NASCAR

___God causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust, the Bible says. So, saints and sinners alike got soaked to the soul a couple of weeks ago.
___If you don't believe it, ask anyone who attended the big NASCAR hoo-hah at Texas Motor Speedway.
___If Noah had entered a speedboat in the annual stock car races, he would've been an instant favorite. Most of the weekend, a boat seemed likely to finish ahead of Dale Jarrett or Jeff Gordon or Mark Martin or any of the 42 cars that competed for victory in the big race.
___I mean, it rained. Maybe not for 40 days and 40 nights, but for a long time.
___You may recall that racing officials called the 200-lap Busch Series race (sort of the minor leagues of NASCAR) after 116 laps because of rain Saturday night. Then they postponed the Winston Cup race (big leagues of NASCAR) because the rain never let up all day Sunday. The Winston Cup cars finally raced Monday, when everybody in the "real world" was supposed to be back at work.
___My friend Richie said he saw pup tents practically floating in the campgrounds beside Texas Motor Speedway Sunday evening.
___Richie and I know about NASCAR. We're not big fans. I don't know a restrictor plate from a valance. I wouldn't know Matt Kenseth, who won the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 on Monday, if he showed up and volunteered to drive me to work, although that would be fun.
___We attend the races because we're dads. Our daughters are members of the Lewisville High School Farmerettes drill team. Parents like Richie and me go to the races to sell corny dogs and funnel cakes to the real racing fans so our daughters can take trips to competitions in gyms far from racetracks.
___But if I keep selling corny dogs, I'm likely to wind up a NASCAR fan. Once the race begins, fans don't want to buy corny dogs; they want to watch the race. So, corny dog sellers like me can sneak off for a few minutes and watch, too.
___If you can't view garishly colored cars zoom at nearly 200 miles per hour and feel the sound reverberate off your chest and not also sense the adrenaline pumping through your veins, you're too far gone to even cheer for the guy who drives a car sponsored by Viagra. I can't describe the scene without grinning.
___But what amazes me are the fans. Seems like millions of them, nearly all wearing some sort of paraphernalia supporting their favorite driver. As a group, they're no different from the rest of the world, but most of them look like they attend NASCAR races a whole lot more often than Sunday School.
___Watching from the corny dog booth, I realized God loves all these people, even the ones drinking beer at 8:30 in the morning. (We didn't sell it to them, by the way.) And just like his rain falls on all our heads, his grace is available to everyone, whether they cheer for Fords, Dodges or Chevys.

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