Moving Forward

As we remember the events of the past few weeks we know in our hearts we need to move forward. Closing a chapter in our lives doesn’t mean having to forget. It also means that we don’t have to act like it didn’t happen. Many I have talked with feel this will take some time to close this chapter. I agree and that’s alright, it’s a testament to how deeply we felt for John and his place in our lives. Let us start the process of moving forward. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

One of the most difficult things we do in racing is figuring out the appropriate way to honor one of our own after they have gone. A couple indications of their impact on the racing community are the several attempts to remember them. I have seen many of the memorial stickers from NASCAR to Wall to individual ones; each one honors John and helps us move forward. These give us a comfort that when we look at each one we will remember our friend, competitor, father, brother, and mentor. We can move forward without forgetting. We can remember him as we race.

I still think back on the events of the past every time I see a sticker, whether it be John, Tom, or Pat. When I see one for someone I didn’t know I remember the lives that person must have touched. I find myself asking the question, “What would _____ do?” We all do and that helps us retain the contribution they made to the sport that we love.

Our Lord had the same feelings when one of his friends passed away. It didn’t matter that he had the power to resurrect his friend, Scripture tell us;

John 11:35, Jesus wept.

In the passage it talks about how moved Jesus was when he saw how much his friend had meant to his sisters and others. I believe Jesus is also moved by our grief for John and he feels our sorrow. He weeps along with us.

A few weeks ago at chapel service I read a poem called Footsteps. In that poem God explains that he walks by our side through life and when the road get tough he carries us. Each time we need him and turn to him he is there reaching out his arms and picking us up. That is the God we serve; a compassionate, merciful, forgiving God.

I am reminded of an encounter that is recorded in Scripture about Peter and Jesus. The Disciples were in a boat on the water and Jesus came to them walking across the water. Peter challenged Jesus and said “Lord, if it is you let me walk on the water.”

Jesus replied, “Come.”

Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water. As he walked toward Jesus he started thinking. He thought that he was just a man and there is no way he could walk on water. Immediately he started to sink.

At this point Jesus had two options, one let him sink and splash around in the water, scared or pick him up and put him back on the boat. Jesus did the compassionate thing and picked Peter up and placed him back on the boat. During this time as we attempt to move forward there will be days when we sink down. We know we can call on the name of Jesus to pick us up and carry us through. Even when we challenge God and get angry with him, he still shows us compassion and forgiveness. What a wonderful God we serve.

The weeks and months ahead will be full of ups and downs. As some have put it, life will feel like a roller coaster, one moment up the next the bottom falls out. With the Lord by our side we will persevere and be able to move forward.

Remember that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting or refusing to accept the reality of what happened. We can and should remember, that will help us heal the hurt in our hearts. We serve a gracious God who knows the grief in our hearts, He can and will carry us as we move forward. He loves us.

Romans 8:37-39, No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD

Thompson Speedway honored John Blewett III last Thursday night with a special flag lowering ceremony before the Sunoco Modified Feature. It was a fitting tribute to John who raced there this year as part of the Thursday Night Thunder racing program. I was honored to lead in prayer as we remembered all that John had contributed to the racing community. The staff and drivers did a great job. Kerry Malone dedicated his win to John in victory lane.

Friday night saw Woody Pitkat continue his winning spree at Stafford Motor Speedway by winning the SKMod feature. He still maintains the national points lead in the Whelen All-American Racing Series. This is the time of year that the standings tighten up, previous low finishes are replaced with wins or better finishes. Keep up the momentum Woody.

After the Friday night race Woody joined TC on the flight to Mansfield Ohio to compete on the Whelen Modified Tour. Woody had another good day, he finished third, his best tour finish to date, in the rain shortened event.

In actuality the podium looked more like a Stafford finish than a tour finish, James Civali won, Doug Coby came home second and Woody followed. All three cut their teeth racing at Stafford Motor Speedway. I was thinking the other day how blessed we are here in Northeast Connecticut. We have some of the best drivers in the country right here to watch every week. Get out there and watch!

I had the opportunity to address the crowd on Saturday before the Whelen Modified race at Mansfield. I extended to them the appreciation and thanks from the Blewett family for all the support they have received from the racing community. I also encouraged them to keep the family in their prayers in the weeks to come. I asked them to remember John for the racer he was and how he touched the lives of so many.

I talked with Jimmy this week. He was appreciative of the outpouring of support and caring from so many over the past few weeks. He shared with me that plans are being put in place for his return to racing. He wants to race the family car and also race again on the tour. He has a new uniform coming and will be back out there soon.

This is a difficult and emotional decision. Jimmy is motivated to honor John and how much John meant to him as he developed as a racer. Jimmy is an example to us all as he picks up the pieces and moves on, not forgetting but being motivated to honor John’s memory.

We also contested a Grand National Busch East race in Ohio. After the rain that shortened the WMT races passed the track was dried and the race was fit in between the cloud outbursts. Within a few minutes of the checkered for Sean Caisse the skies opened up. Actually it felt pretty good after a day out in the sun.

The Busch race was hard fought between Matt Kobyluck and Sean with Joey Lagono having a front row seat in third. Through many restarts the two dueled and Sean came out on top in the end.

We had a joint chapel service and it was interesting as a contingent of young development drivers from the Busch East walked across the infield to join us at the WMT Tech Hauler. In their eyes are the dreams that making racing worth it. Both Dan and I are excited about their support for the ministry and the feedback they give us after the service. These young guys are making the right choice in putting God first. Take a look the next time you see them race and it will surprise you haw many of them carry the ministry decals.

This week finds Dan and I headed to Martinsville for the Whelen Made in America 300. The WMT now has the 300 mile race back. We are looking forward to having a new helper with us, Phillip Satkowski. He is hoping to get the time off from his new job to hit the road with the Dynamic Duo. We’ll let Kenny give him some travel tips. Hope you can make the trip to this historic track that is rich in Modified history. God Bless and have a great week, Rev. Don.

Be a witness for our Lord with the ministry decals and apparel. See them at the Online Apparel Store at www.RWJM.org. Call us with your prayer and counseling needs and list all your prayer needs, no matter what part of our racing family you are in, with the Racing Family Prayer Request Page www.rwjm.org/page/prayers.php also send your prayer request by mail. Until next time, remember that God loves you, we love you and

Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing. GOD BLESS.

Mail reaches us at Racing with Jesus Ministries, PO Box 586, Tolland, CT 06084. Check our weekly printed pages in “Area Auto Racing News”, the East Coast’s largest weekly racing paper” See our on-line Apparel Store for subscription information. Check our home page www.rwjm.org for past articles. We invite you to input your thoughts as you sign our Guest Book. Please remember, we can only do what we do because of your prayerful financial support.

Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

May God always Bless you, everyday in everyway. Rev. Don

CHECKERED CHEERS

***WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES***

**BELATED**

August 25

JOE AND CAROL CIVALI- Parents of WMT driver James and BES spotter Joey celebrate thier 28th. Son James gave them a victory at Mansfield for a present this year.

August 30

SONNY & HENRIETTA KOSZELLA- The proprietor of Koszella Speed Warehouse in Coventry, RI and wife have their 48th anniversary. They are also the very proud parents of the lovely Julie Stefanik, wife of NASCAR WMT & BES Mike Stefanik.

AUGUST 31

RICK & LIND RODENBAUGH- This NASCAR WMT couple, she with the Jake Morose Team and he Co-Crew Chief for Wade Cole share their 5th.

SEPTEMBER 1

BRUCE & SALLY SHIREY- This Latrobe, PA couple who live just five miles from Latrobe Speedway and also enjoy road racing, have their 22nd anniversary.

September 3

WILLIS & LOIS MERRILL- Kennebunk, ME NASCAR BES GRAND NATIONAL fans celebrate their anniversary.

***HAPPY BIRTHDAYS***

August 29

MARK FLEURY- NY DIRT Modified driver.

August 30

KEVIN ECKERT- Allentown, PA based Sprint/Midget writer.

AUSTIN MARIE BRUNO- This little lady is the first child of Bomoseen, VT American-Canadian Tour/ Busch East Series Grand National driver Mike and wife Alayne and turns 6.

August 31

JERRY SOLOMITO- Riverhead Modified driver.

JOHN HEWITT- DIRT Modified driver.

GARY MOORE- Horseshoe, NC driver/owner.

HOWIE HODGE- Well liked and respected photographer from Manchester, CT.

September 1

BRETT HEARN- Sussex, NJ top DIRT Modified driver.

LENNY FISCHER- Riverhead Raceway Modified driver.

EDDIE HOWELL- Lakeland, Fl former Dash Series driver.

LARRY BOUCHARD- Feeding Hills, MA ProStock driver.

DAVID STOKES- Son of Wall Township Speedway co-announcer Roger Stokes.

FRAN COLSON III- Son of Leominster, MA ProStock driver Fran and wife Doreen is 18.

September 2

JIM CHAPIN- Friend of RWJM ministries.

JACK JOHNSON- Duanesburg, NY legendary dirt Modified driver.

MARK FUSCO- DIRT Modified driver.

BLAIR AIKEN- Lakeport, CA NASCAR West driver.

STEVE GOLEMBESKI, Jr.- Jamie Tomaino NASCAR WMT team crewman.

CLAYLENE ADAMS- Wife of Pomfret, CT Pro Tour Truck and ProStock driver Leo.

ADAM VENEZIAN- The son of Statewide Trailer/ Perth Amboy Spring owner Joe and wife Linda.

September 3

JACK PENNINGTON- Augusta, GA LMSC driver.

CARLTON P. MERRILL- From Newton, MA, Carl is the GM at Monadncok Speedway near Keene, NH.

NORM McINTOSH- Crewman on the NH based Mike Weeden LM.

RANDY LEE JOHNSTON- This Waterford Speedbowl fan is 21.

September 4

BOB JENKINS- Renowned as racing’s premier pass-by-pass action TV announcer on ESPN for the IRL, this Indianapolis, IN resident is also with Linger Productions who produce such great race coverage and Bob is also the voice of the Indy 500 Radio Network.

REV. JOE BUBBICO- This former CT based Modified driver also has quite a voice and is now using it to witness for our Lord as the RWJM West Coast Coordinator and Track Chaplain at Orange Show Speedway and Perris Speedway while continuing his driving at OSS from his home in Winchester, CA.

JEFF FEHR- Mahoning Valley Speedway driver.

BRANDON BUTLER- Richmond, VA NASCAR CTS driver.

FRED STODDARD- Brother-in-Law of Stafford Late Model driver Tom Fearn.

BILL EMHOFF- York Maine crew member on Art Barry’s #21 WMT.

SHARE YOUR SPECIAL OCCASIONS WITH YOUR RACING FAMILY. SEND THEM TO RACING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES AT PO BOX 586, Tolland, CT, 06084.

Sources: Rev. Don Rivers/RWJM