Don’t ask me how, but years ago somehow my Hubby and I ended up with passes to the “Richard Petty Driving Experience.” If you don’t know what that is, you are not alone. I didn’t know either. But I do now.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, this is straight from the website: “Welcome to NASCAR Racing Experience- “It’s as real as it gets.” You can DRIVE a real NASCAR Race Car by yourself! Following drivers, meeting with crew chief, training and instruction, get behind the wheel and drive a NASCAR Race Car for timed racing sessions on the Nation’s Premier Speedways.”
You know why I had no idea what it was? Because I have never watched a NASCAR race in person or on TV. I’m not even sure what NASCAR stands for.
But we ended up with passes to the event and my husband said he thought I’d like it because I like to drive fast. That was the criteria for me – driving fast. This was back in the days when getting speeding tickets was a fairly regular thing for me. I sort of thought speed limits were vague suggestions. The cops who stopped me seemed to think speed limits were a rule or law. Whatever.
I was cured of my speeding habit when my girls started driving and I realized the very, very poor example I set for them.
Anyway, back to NASCAR. (I can guarantee you I have never typed that before…) Hubby and I drove three hours to the nearest speedway. We were given blue NASCAR jumpsuits, told to get into a 15-passenger van and driven onto the racetrack. The men in the van with me were all googly-eyed. Oh, did I mention I was the ONLY girl and the ONLY one who had never watched a car race?
The van drove us to the inner track (is that what it is called?) and we piled out and took our spot on some makeshift stands and waited for our instructions. Of course I started talking to those around me. The young man next to me had received the “experience” as his high school graduation present. The older man next to me told me he had driven a Greyhound bus for 40 years and the “experience” was his retirement gift. When they asked me why I was there, I said, “Because I like to drive fast.”
We got our instructions: Get in our cars and try to stay as close to the lead car (driven by a real NASCAR-type driver.) The closer we stayed to the lead car, the faster the lead car would go. We were told to push them and not worry about getting too close. If we got too close, they would wave us off.
We would do 8 laps, come in, get instruction about what we did right and wrong, go back out for another 11 laps, more instruction and then 11 more laps.
Off we went.
I came in after my first 8 laps and was told “Good job. But you can go faster.”
The bus driver came off the course and was told he needed to go much faster. He was told there was so much space between the lead car and his car a semi-truck could be parked between them. He was told to get closer to the lead car.
Bus Driver Man sat down next to me looking dejected. I said something to try to encourage him.
“Ma’am, for 40 years when I drove the Greyhound bus, I was told to keep at least 5 car lengths between me and the car in front of me. It’s hard to break that habit.”
I nodded my understanding and we watched the other cars race around the track.
When I came off the course after my next 11 laps, I was congratulated for getting a wave off.
Bus Driver Man stood up for his next set of laps and looked defeated. As he was climbing into the car I stood up in the stands and yelled, “Drive fast! Today you are NOT a bus driver! TODAY, YOU ARE A RACECAR DRIVER!”
And he did! He drove fast! He came off the course beaming and ran past his wife, hugged me and said, “That was amazing! I was a racecar driver today!”
“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”― Stephen R. Covey
Who around you needs some encouragement today? Who needs some truth and identity spoken over them? I bet there is someone. I am someone. You are someone. We all need encouragement. We all need to know there is someone in the stands cheering us on. I could write a whole chapter or book about this but let me just say – look around you for those who need an encouraging word.
Maybe there is a mom who needs to hear that even if her kid didn’t nap or woke up from a nap and smeared poop on the wall, that they are doing a good job and their kid will be okay.
Maybe there is a co-worker who questions whether their work is adequate. Find the positive and praise them.
What about the person behind the cash register who has no doubt had to deal with a nasty customer at some point that day? Let them know you see them and appreciate them.
Look around. Someone needs your encouragement today.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11
P.S. I drove 150mph and didn’t die – or get a speeding ticket!