By Del Duduit
I’m thrilled to have plans to attend the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 this weekend.
Although I don’t follow racing as much as other sports, this event is one of the most exciting you will ever attend. The pageantry leading up to the race combined with nearly one million fans makes it “the greatest spectacle in racing.”
The past two years, I have gone there to cover one of my former fourth-grade basketball players who has made it to the big time in the sport.
Zach Veach drove with A.J. Foyt in 2017, and since last year, he has been under the helm of Andretti Autosport. I’m happy for him and proud of him too.
I got a kick out of him last year when I walked into his garage and introduced me to his crew as his “old basketball coach.”
It was a pleasure to catch up with Zach earlier this month during practice. He’s ready.
I am praying he has a good showing this weekend and even wins his dream race. I will ask all of you to cover him in your prayers for safety, because this sport is dangerous.
Two years ago, I also met and became friends with George Del Canto, the owner of Kingdom Racing. He is a true man of God and uses his platform on the track to spread the gospel of Christ. Last year, I visited with George during practice runs, and I hope to reconnect with him again on Sunday.
I walked around with George and his wife, Maricarman, on Race Day the past two years, six hours before the call to “start your engines” as he prayed over each car in the race.
There was something special about him standing next to a race car and asking God to watch over the driver as the sun slowly peeked over the horizon.
I made a lot of good memories in years past, and I count on making more this weekend.
As I mingled my way with many of the drivers and their crews during the hours before the green flag waved last year, I heard a phrase mentioned over and over to those behind the wheel.
The phrase is peppered throughout history. You may recall when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin blasted off for the Moon in 1969, the last words they heard from the control room was Good luck and Godspeed.
When I hear these words, I feel a twinge of uncertainty and get a queasy feeling in my stomach. Immediately, I think of danger ahead.
The only times you seem to hear these two words together are when astronauts blast off into orbit, soldiers head into battle, and racers dart around the track.
I find the expression almost as eerie as hearing “Taps” performed right before the running of the 500.
What does Godspeed mean anyway? Does it suggest that you are going to meet your Maker quicker than you had anticipated? I certainly hope not.
According to scripture in the King James Version, the words God and speed appear together twice in 2 John 1: 10 -11.
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any part of that.
Godspeed actually means to “rejoice” or “be of good cheer.”
But if “be of good cheer” was bellowed right before the running of the Indy 500, it would not have the same effect.
I wonder what Buzz would have thought if he heard Rejoice come over the microphone from Launch Control instead of Godspeed.
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You must admit, there is a connotation of courage and heroism tossed into the meaning when you hear Godspeed.
Any way you look at it, I’m glad folks say this to the racers before they suit up and get behind the wheel. For some, it may be the only word of encouragement they hear that day.
And you know there are no atheists in foxholes or in race cars.
I think this weekend, I’ll try to say Godspeed more often. And I hope it sparks a conversation I can have with whoever might ask what it means. Maybe I’ll get to tell them:
- Rejoice. God is in control.
- Be of good cheer. Christ died for you.
- Godspeed. He’s coming again. And just maybe, quicker than you think.
After all, the word could refer to a life or death circumstance. Godspeed — are you ready to meet Him?
Let me know your thoughts on this post.
For more information on Kingdom Racing, visit the organization’s website here.
For more information on professional racer Zach Veach, my former “basketball protégé,” visit his website here.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.