Building Faith in the Painful Places with Kingdom Racing
Dallas, TX - Auto racing is dangerous. IndyCar racing, with the lightweight, open-top cars hugging the track at remarkable speeds, may be more dangerous than most. Drivers and their teams try to anticipate the mechanical dangers, and ministries like Kingdom Racing try to prepare them and their fans for spiritual dangers found in both victory and failure.
“If there is any certainty in racing, it is that everything changes. You can bank on it,” says Kingdom Racing’s Team Director, Charles West. A crash can take a driver out of a race or worse, end a life. Kingdom Racing works to help people cope with such losses through faith in Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, those changes are unpredictable and scary. In May of2013, while driving home from the Indianapolis 500, George Del Canto, the founder of Kingdom Racing, and his wife, Maricarmen, stopped at a gas station in Timpson, Texas. They were driving an eye-catching charcoal Lamborghini LP540-2 at the time, a distinct conversation starter among car enthusiasts. While George pumped the gas, a couple of military men approached him to admire what he calls “The Gray Ghost.” A moment after stepping away to greet the men and express his gratitude for their service, the Lamborghini burst into flames
The Petroleum Equipment Institute has sought out reports of vehicle refueling fires judged to have been sparked by static electricity. Since 1992, roughly 200 reports have come in. With billions of people pumping gas every year, static electricity isn’t a big problem. But it does happen and it happened to the Del Cantos. In fact, the fire torched the entire car and ruined everything inside. By God’s grace, George and Maricarmen Del Canto were spared. Maricarmen was in the restroom, and George, having stepped a few feet away from the vehicle, was not harmed.
On the track, such a disaster might have caused even more damage. Driver and Kingdom Racing team member Davey Hamilton knows that firsthand. During a 2001 race at Texas Motor Speedway, a neighboring car engine blew up, sending Hamilton’s car into the air. He nearly lost his legs, but during his recovery, which involved 21 surgeries and a year in a wheelchair, he was rescued.
“Sometimes, God has to take us to the most painful of places to give us the depth of faith that is necessary to completely trust him—and to really live for him,” Hamilton says. “I can honestly say today that I give thanks for all that the accident, the surgeries and the suffering have brought about in my life. We are only here in this life for a short period of time, and we can make the most of it by sticking close to God.”
Kingdom Racing is a growing ministry within Indycar racing. By sharing the gospel and partnering with other ministries, the team uses God’s Word to point people to Christ. 2013 signaled their second full season in IndyCar competition with three cars at the Indianapolis 500 and driver Simon Pagenaud winning both Detroit and Baltimore Grand Prix races.
“By building trust among race car teams and fans, we gain a position to share the hope of Christ during good and bad times,” says founder George Del Canto. We are able to share our testimonies of walking with Christ and His faithfulness in our lives just as Maricarmen and I witnessed in Timpson, TX.
For more information, visit www.KingdomRacing.net or join their fan communities at Kingdom Racing on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.