By Del Duduit
For 14 laps, he led the most prestigious race in the world.
Zach Veach, a kid I coached in fourth grade basketball, was out in front toward the end of the race.
When it was over, he finished in 15th place.
But from laps 171 to 184, out of 200, he was the leader, and nothing can take that away.
“Took a big gamble and was leading the Indy 500 with 15 to go,” Zach tweeted. “Unfortunately, the yellow we needed was about 15 laps too late. Leading the 500 with a small chance to win was a surreal feeling that has me counting down the days to the 105th!”
He was talking about next year’s running of the 500 miles at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. I was so happy for him, and I was also frustrated that the pandemic kept me from being there to watch him in person.
A yellow flag was what he needed, but it came a little too late.
Being a leader is something we cannot take for granted.
It’s not a trait that you are born with but is learned over time.
This was Zach’s fourth attempt to kiss the bricks, and he wants nothing more than to drink from the milk cart one day.
What makes a good leader?
And there are more.
Most notably patience.
He mentioned how the yellow flag came a little late. If he had been in a different position and the yellow had come sooner, things might have turned out differently. He may have been in a better position to win. But he learned and gained valuable experience. And he finished the race.
Leaders know their mission. One of Zach’s goals was to lead some laps. Check.
- Great Christian leaders knows their mission and will achieve it. Ronald Reagan is a good example. He had a vision. He was determined to see it happen and refused to be paralyzed by fear. He communicated his goals and how to reach them. In turn, Zach could have let the fear of going 240 mph around an oval track stop him, but he kept going to the end.
- Great leaders take care of the people around them. The Lord Jesus Christ is the best example of this. Many examples of his compassion and care for His children is demonstrated throughout the pages of scripture. Zach also takes care of his crew. He always compliments them and lets them know they are important to the success of the team. From the pit crew to his spotters, he zoomed to the leader board with the help of every member.
- Good leaders are not afraid for others to succeed. They show sportsmanship and congratulate those who do well. In turn, they show they are not threatened by the success of others. They celebrate when those around them succeed. Zach wanted to win, but it wasn’t his day. But he tweeted out a congratulatory message to Takuma Sato, who won his second Indy 500.
Let nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Philippians 2: 3 KJV)
Good Christian leaders make sure their families go to church on a regular basis.
They set the example and do good even when no one is around to witness.
Good leaders serve others and do not expect anything in return. They truly love and value people and want to help others for the good of the one being helped, not for personal gain.
Good leaders continue to learn. Zach will tell you he learned over the past four Indianapolis 500 races. Each time, he gets a little closer to his goal. He has faith in his ability and his team.
So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10: 17 KJV)
Being a leader does not happen overnight. The desire to jump in front is a risk and takes determination.
The world needs leaders and followers. On Sunday, Zach was both. But he’s learning to be a leader.
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.