22 Seconds. That’s how long it takes a NASCAR Sprint Cup car to make it around one lap at Richmond International Raceway (RIR.) I attended this race in 2014 and it was a blast! Even wearing earmuffs, I could still hear the cars go by. More than that, I could FEEL them! Sitting high up in turn one, I could see the whole track and all the pit action.
I’m a big fan of NASCAR. The cars have over 800 horsepower and can reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour. I love the speed, the skill of the drivers, the strategy, the drama and the competition.
Three quarters of a mile in 22 seconds! Now, if the race was only one lap long, then the guy in front of the other 42 cars would have a good chance to win. He has all the advantages, right? Fast car. Front row. Clear track. But the race was actually 400 laps, and the leader on lap one, Juan Pablo Montoya, finished in 29th place, four laps down. The winner, Kyle Busch, started in 20th place; the middle of the pack.
Between Lap one and lap 400 there were pit stops for fuel and tires, there were crashes, and there were risks taken or not taken, all of which ultimately determined the final outcome. Where you start out is not necessarily where you end up.
The race made me think. The winner of the race was not the guy who was fastest in qualifying on Friday, but the guy who persisted for 400 laps on Saturday night. And life’s not a one-lap race either. Most of us don’t start out front with all the advantages. We have to work at it. And we have to trust our Sovereign God to transform our circumstances and carry us to a good end. We have to finish the race.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)