Early in my life, I was excited about Winston Cup racing where I was presented with a wonderful opportunity as a 12yr old newspaper carrier. I was one of five boys who won a contest of getting the most new customers. Mr. Marsh of the Kingsport Times News took us, all expenses paid, to the Indianapolis 500 Race in 1951. Bill Holland won, but Bill Vukivich was killed during the race. Later, in 1957, at the Daytona 500, Fireball Roberts wsa killed. At this point, I began to think that if this is what racing is about, then I didn’t want anything to do with it anymore.
Around 1995, enter my precious friend, Tom Elam, our present Executive Director of Bristol Raceway Ministries. He began to talk to me about working as a volunteer chaplain during the Bristol Motor Speedway races. My responsibility was to share my past experience which has left me reasonably disinterested in the whole racing scene. I said something like, “I don’t have much to do with car racing anymore.” Tom surprised me by telling me that he was looking for people who would do the Chaplain’s work without being distracted by the race. Then Tom asked me this question: “What would Jesus do about these racing events?” My quick response was, “Well, I don’t believe that Jesus would be in here watching the race!” (Even though He might well have been.) After more thought, it sure seemed possible or probable that Jesus would be out among the crowds being accessible and ministering to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. With this new insight, I realized that GOG did want me to serve and represent Him in this ministry. While I haven’t been a very good chaplain over the last 15yrs, my job has been full of my sweet privilege of being a chaplain for with the BRISTOL RACEWAY MINISTRIES. For this, I am thankful and thank you Tom.
Brother Tommy Holtsclaw