Passionate--an understatement for a devout sports fan.
Impassioned--an intense NASCAR enthusiast cheering on his driver at 200 mph.
From super speedways and short tracks to local dirt races and farm fields, frenzied passion has long fueled the veins of race fans alike in unrivaled fashion.
With religious ties and southern roots dating to the prohibition days of the 1930’s, NASCAR has always benefited from being relatable to its fanbase. To its credit, NASCAR has continually been intentional about making drivers accessible to their devoted spectators. The emotional connection is that though a fan’s favorite driver may be a death-defying superhero, as a person, he or she is no different from the everyday ticket-buying fan. And that relational bond has historically resulted in increased devotion and sponsorship revenue.
That relational bond would never be more evident than it was with Dale Earnhardt — NASCAR’s biggest star of all time. He personified the American dream. Born in humble beginnings, determined and hardworking, he bootstrapped himself from the life of a southern cotton factory worker to being an international icon. And in tragic fashion, his life ended on the final-lap of NASCAR’s “Super Bowl” — the Daytona 500 — when his car hit the wall in a multi-car accident in 2001.
The apostle Paul described in Philippians 2:5-8 how Jesus made the omnipotent God of the universe someone we could relate to. Though He possessed all the incredible power, majesty, beauty and privilege of God, He chose to put on the clothing of humble humanity and live a life of obedience to His Father, knowing that would end in a shameful death. He wore the disguise of human flesh so we could relate to Him--not as an equal, but one who equally understands the frailty of humanity. He was the ultimate Prince, dressed as the ultimate pauper so that He could reveal God to us. Now every person can reach God through Jesus, at whose glorious name every knee will one day bow.
Let Christ Himself be your example as to what you should relate with. For He, who had always been God by nature, never allowed the fanfare of the day to prevent Him from relating with mortal man, and obediently living as an example for others to follow.
Though a generation of drivers have come and gone since that fateful race, and racing’s popularity has since ebbed and flowed, “The Great American Race,” is continually regarded as the most important and prestigious race for NASCAR. Whether it’s the allure of pinpoint maneuvering at 200+ mph, the fresh start of a promising season, or the simple relatability a “superhero” driver has with his fanbase, racing enthusiasts and casual viewers alike tune in to watch t_heir_ drivers start their engines.