For almost 9 years Michelle and I have been a part of an incredible community, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. For almost 9 years this community of people has transitioned from strangers to friends, and from friends to our racing family.
We are a diverse bunch of people, yet each person in our family is uniquely beautiful in their own way.
We’ve shared some tremendous moments of joy together and we’ve also been on the brink of despair together. We’ve welcomed new people into our family and we’ve said goodbye to dear friends. We’ve celebrated life and mourned death. Together we have traversed seemingly every emotion possible.
At times it has been a really fun ride and at times it has been completely overwhelming.
Yet, we wouldn’t trade a moment of the beautiful experiences we’ve had together.
Over the past 9 years we’ve seen the best and the worst of our family; as they have of us. There have been moments we’ve all been proud of and there have been moments we’d like to move beyond and forget. Competition blended with passion can create some memorable, if not crazy, moments. It’s not excused, but in a way it is expected.
Over the past 9 years our love has intensified for each person within our NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour family. As we’ve gotten to know each and every person behind the helmets, wrenches, tires, uniforms, and grills we’ve come to appreciate the remarkable hearts each person has. Seriously, some amazing people are a part of our family.
Many of you will never hear the stories we get to hear, see the little things we get to see, know the people we get to know.
That is why weeks like this week affect me like this. It is very hard for me to see my family under fire. This isn’t the first time my family has been under attack, and it certainly won’t be the last time…but this time I am compelled to speak up.
Burt Myers (and team) and Tim Brown (and team) are my family.
Yes, they are rivals, but they are also my family.
Over the past few days I’ve read countless personal attacks against both men from the outside. Remarks and comments that move beyond ‘ability’ behind the wheel and shoot at the character and person behind the helmets and driver’s suits.
Just as it would bother me with my ‘blood’ family, it bothers me with my racing family. It bothers me that the targets of these attacks are good men. They have families. They have lives beyond the wheel. They have hearts.
With the onset of social media we all do a good job of dehumanizing others. We throw our daggers at politicians and athletes, movie stars and neighbors. We have no regard for how deep those daggers cut. We have no regard for how those daggers slash others as they fly through the air.
In traffic we will verbally slay someone who cuts us off; exhibiting no regard for them as a person. On social media we will completely shred the customer service rep we had a poor experience with without any concern for them as a fellow human. We will trample over anyone with a differing opinion. We will offer no grace to anyone who has stepped out of line.
I believe when we stop and contemplate what we are saying we are all better than that.
Proverbs 12:18 reminds us, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.“
Our words are powerful, they can build up others or they can destroy others. Whoever said sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you must have never been the recipient of hateful words. They do hurt. They do affect how we see ourselves and how we interact with others.
Ask anyone who has been bullied.
So it hurts me to see my family under fire. It hurts me to see two men that I know very well taking the shots they are taking. It hurts me to see them dehumanized; because they are good men.
Behind the wheel they are passionate. They are zealous. And yes, they are rivals.
But you don’t know my family like I do.
I’m not asking anyone to change who they support or to change their opinion of what happened on the track; but I am asking us all to always remember that the recipients of our attacks are real people, with families, and hearts. Whether we are talking about motor sports, politics, entertainment or just day to day life we should never feel like it is okay to cut others with our words.
I’m continually reminded of what James wrote, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.“
I pray that is never said of me.
Instead, let Ephesians 4:29 be my daily reminder, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your [my] mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may.“
Life is more than racing. People are more than what they do. There is something much bigger at stake when we talk the way we do. We don’t have to agree and it won’t always be unicorns and rainbows, but our words have tremendous power. Let us all look for ways to speak life, to each other and to others.