The return of the Grand Prix of Houston following a five year hiatus was truly an answered prayer for Kingdom Racing. Houston is our home turf and where most team personnel are located. Since it was placed on the schedule last year, the entire team has been stoked about the possibilities of a race in our own backyard for a local mission field.
In nearly every respect, Houston did not disappoint. In fact, and like most everything into which God leads us, it excelled on every level.
Planning and candidate identification for our Miles of Smiles ministry started months ago. For various reasons, the right fit just could not be found. One group could not make the commitment. Another had to cancel out due to health concerns with just weeks to go.
Then an email arrived.
A young mother heard about the Kingdom Racing and Miles of Smiles story on KSBJ radio in Houston during Alan Litvak’s interview and was interested in the possibility of buying some our VIP ticket packages for a discount or installment basis in order to bring her special needs family to the track to see God in action.
It would have been easy to simply respond that there weren’t any discounts or suggest she just buy tickets to the race and meet us out there, but there was no mistake in her timely message. It was the right family at the right time, just as God intended.
Upon investigation, the mother and her husband, in addition to two children of their own, adopted four orphans out of Africa varied in ages from 8 to 22. The mother and father are Christian believers and attend church in the Houston area. It quickly became apparent that they were the perfect fit for our Houston Miles of Smiles guests. We didn’t seek them out. The Father sent them to us.
Of course, God knew exactly what He was doing, too. He always does. Though the father could not attend, the mother joined the team on Friday along with three of the adopted children, ages 8, 11, and 12. They were such a great match because she wanted to show them a practical application of Christianity in the world, which we absolutely did, but there was more in store.
As we enjoyed a quiet talk with the family in our team transporter, the mother spoke about the need for growing the men’s ministry in their church. As it turns out, this is a core principle in a new grass roots campaign Kingdom Racing has just launched. Not only that, but this is another church in our home city of Houston.
Friday flew by and the kids all had an incredible time at the track. They got to meet Simon Pagenaud, Tristan Vautier, Sam Schmidt, and the entire Kingdom Racing team. As is usual, we gave them some awesome custom gift bags and the family departed with massive smiles on their faces. Though we had to part ways at the end of the day, it was merely the beginning of our relationship with them, just like all Miles of Smiles families. In fact, we’re already hard at work with them on laying the foundation for a partnership with them and their church. God truly works in amazing ways. He listens and answers every prayer.
Many other happenings took place in Houston leading up to the Grand Prix. On Wednesday, Davey Hamilton and George del Canto were honored speakers at the Houston Gathering of Men luncheon at Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It was very well attended and received. Praise God for that!
Through the luncheon, we were blessed to meet several new potential partners in the Kingdom Racing ministry as well. Later that afternoon, we held our official team executive planning meeting for 2014, a year that looks to be very exciting for Kingdom Racing. The Lord is blessing this mission in ways unimagined, but He knows best and our complete trust resides in Him!
We hosted another young lady as part of our Miles of Smiles program on Sunday. After suffering a traumatic injury just three years ago, she has since developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which effectively causes her entire body to be in constant agony. She best described the condition as the nerve pain from her injury being paused in constant suspension before slowly infiltrating the rest of the body and eventually the brain. It is nicknamed the suicide disease.
It was explained to her that Miles of Smiles was designed to bring people out to the racetrack, give them an incredible VIP racing experience and allow them to take their minds off of whatever troubles they are going through in life. She replied that it was absolutely perfect because the day at the races was helping her to do that very thing. Our guest is also a born-again Christian and gave a wonderful testimony of how her faith in Christ helps her not only get through each challenging day but do so helping others through her personal awareness program and blog.
With every VIP guest we host through Miles of Smiles, Kingdom Racing grows, in size, in reach, in awareness, in faith, and most importantly, in the glory we give to God. He has brought some amazing people to us. He has put the right words in our mouths and given us a wonderful platform to praise His Holy Name. And He will undoubtedly continue to do so. Our final track event of the 2013 season is this Saturday night at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
After finishing 4th and 6th in the doubleheader races in Houston, Simon remains 3rd in the season championship standings with the possibility of finishing as high as second place. Tune in Saturday night at 8:00pm ET on NBC Sports to catch all the action. We’ll be there hosting more Miles of Smiles guests and proclaiming the Name of Jesus Christ before the world! If you cannot join us in person, please keep Kingdom Racing in your prayers!
All for Him, we are…KR!
God never fails to do truly amazing things. Never. Just when you think you’ve reached a summit, the clouds part and He shows you there’s more majesty to be gained. That’s just the way God works. All praise be to Him!
Every day, we pray that God will place the right people before us and the right words on our tongues to share Christ’s love. Nearly a year ago we received an email from a gentleman who attended the 2012 Grand Prix of Baltimore. It said, in part:
“To Whom it may Concern,
I was in the paddock and noticed your logo on Simon Pagenaud’s car. This was my first time at any racing event and snapped a photo of your logo to remind myself to inquire about your organization. I just visited your web site and was uplifted to see a Christian organization involved in racing.”
A relationship began from his note, eventually flourishing into Kyu Lee and his wife Angela volunteering to host our Miles of Smiles ministry program at the 2013 event. The enthusiasm and dedication they showed was incredible in a remarkable event. God led them to a group of people they work with and revealed them to be the perfect matches for Kingdom Racing to host four guests at the Grand Prix on Sunday.
On race day, we began by praying with our guests, listening to their struggles and sharing our own in a private session held in the Hospitality Unit. “We were there to encourage them to look forward, that Jesus Christ gives us the hope, security, and knowledge that God is good, and that we have to embrace and receive that.” said team founder, George del Canto.
Out on the race track, what took place on Sunday was nothing less than spectacular. Kingdom Racing driver Simon Pagenaud won a thrilling Grand Prix of Baltimore for his second win of the season, moving him from 5th to 3rd place in the championship. You can read about the race elsewhere, like HERE, HERE, OR HERE. But what you won’t find anywhere else are the stories of how lives were touched and changed through Kingdom Racing that day:
Here is what our hosts and guests had to say about their time at the Grand Prix of Baltimore:
“I’ve lived in Baltimore all my life and I have to say that yesterday was the best day EVER!!! Thanks so much to Kingdom Racing for their Christ-like love and friendship and for making me an IndyCar fan!”
“Kingdom Racing is awesome. Heaven sent. World class experience that I’ll never forget.”
“I will never forget this moment.”
“I’m at a loss for words. This is such a wonderful experience to be here today. This is awesome, I’m overjoyed.”
“Thank you so much. This is really cool seeing all the cool cars and learning the Kingdom Racing life stories.”
One of our guests had even predicted the victory: “I told you he was going to win! I called it! I knew he was going to win today!”
Overall, our VIPs were uplifted by the entire experience, especially when they got to be in a special area beside the stage during the podium victory festivities. They didn’t think they’d get to be included in the celebration. But they were. God saw to it.
Before leaving victory lane, one of the guests asked if everyone could pray together again. The group locked arms right next to the stage, praising and thanking God for such an incredible day! Enduring sweltering heat and sweat-soaked clothes, everyone hugged and expressed anticipation for the next time they’d meet.
“The weekend was nothing short of amazing, spectacular, and refreshing. God worked in their hearts and ours, too. It will be exciting to see how God works in the upcoming days, months, and years with these guests,” said Tim Carrie, Kingdom Racing Miles of Smiles Ministry Director.
“All weekend, our words were inspired by the Holy Spirit. As a validation of that inspiration, God gifted us with victory and we were able to say ‘Look at the wonderful things that the LORD does when you are willing to submit to and follow Him,’” said del Canto, adding, “To see the Miles of Smiles guests celebrating by the victory platform was a beautiful testimony to what God does and to all of us, was evidence of how truly amazing our God is.”
In yet another answer to prayer, we were approached by a member of the Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports crew about supporting him in starting a men’s Bible study within the team. Hallelujah! This was not something forced, but Kingdom Racing was absolutely ready when the question was asked. Efforts are already underway to make this a reality.
Additionally, in a somewhat humorous twist, as the Kingdom Racing crew climbed the stage to participate in the victory celebration, one of our guests’ Kingdom Racing hat was mistakenly tossed into the crowd by a jubilant Simon Pagenaud. It was the only mistake made by the Frenchman all weekend. No worries though. Someone out there got a free Kingdom Racing hat.
Now, wouldn’t it be incredible if that mystery fan, having caught that particular hat, goes home and looks up Kingdom Racing to find out more, then contacts us and asks how they can help? You can bet that hat landed exactly in the hands of whom God intended it to. *(If you ARE that person, please contact us!)*
That is, after all, how this weekend came to be a year before. God was there preparing the way before us!
Kingdom Racing is heading to the Grand Prix of Houston, our home race, on October 4-6th with a month of winning momentum. It is sure to be a hallmark event for the team. We’ll be kicking things off on Wednesday October 2nd with a Gathering of Men Luncheon from 11:00 -1:30 at Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 300 Katy Fwy. In Houston, followed by a doubleheader weekend of racing that we have opened up to our fans by offering VIP ticket packages to join us behind the scenes. Come out and experience God through Kingdom Racing for yourself. You won’t regret it!
We can hardly wait for Houston. But wait we will and see how God surely astonishes once again.
All for Him, we are… KR!
It is often asked of us: “What exactly does Kingdom Racing do?”
Well, sure, we have our motto, “Deliver God’s Word Through Motorsports,” and we often explain simply that we are a Christian IndyCar team, serving God in the INDYCAR Series. But what does that really mean? The truth of the matter is that Kingdom Racing is making a real difference in people’s spiritual lives, whether it’s at the track or away, in person or online. That we touch people’s lives to such great effect is at once incredibly humbling and deliberately noble.
Our Miles of Smiles Ministry is a huge part of this, and we kicked it into high gear at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway once again this May.
Sometimes, it is not until much later that we are able to gauge the true impact we have on people. Most of the time, we never really can. Truly, only God knows until that wonderful day we join him in Glory. But every once in a while, we get a note or call back from our guests or fans regarding the impact Kingdom Racing has had on them. Each one emboldens us to press on with His work. As stated in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Amen to that!
Once such example is a recent note we received from one of the hosts of our first Miles of Smiles family at Indianapolis, Laura and her daughter, Josie.
During Laura and Josie’s VIP day at IMS, several of us sat down with them at various parts of the day, listening to her background and explaining the Kingdom Racing story, our involvement and roles, and most importantly, the assorted stories of our surrender to Christ. Using the incredible framework of the Way of The Master evangelism training, we were truly able to reach Laura right there in the presence of her daughter, explaining what it meant to have a healthy relationship with Christ and why we even need one in the first place, that we are all guilty of violating God’s Holy Law and shall stand one day in judgment for our sins, and that without Christ, eternal peril awaits. There was one specific point where you could tell Laura was convicted, that she knew her relationship with the Lord was not right. She believed and prayed occasionally, but her Bible was nothing more than a dust-gathering decoration on her nightstand. Her Bible was right there, but she never read it. We gave Laura and her daughter each a personalized daily devotional an explained the importance of spending time each day diving in and reading God’s Word.
As noted, the host who nominated Laura contacted us to follow up on what had been happening in Laura’s life. Not only did she start dutifully reading her devotional, but she dusted off her Bible and began reading it daily. Laura has begun praying with sincerity every day and confessed that the Lord was speaking back to her in amazing ways. She has also developed a renewed interest in attending church.
So much has her daily walk with the Lord matured, Laura has even reopened communication with Josie’s father and telling him about the impact it has made on her life and outlook. She is passing Him on.
When we first met Laura, she was broken but recovering, trying as hard as she could to keep herself and family above water and just thankful for a day out at the race track to relax and have a little time off. All of her closest relatives had passed way, many of them, including her mother, just within the last few years. The cumulative of those losses had impacted her deeply and left her grasping for something to regain her balance and lift her up. What she wasn’t aware of was that the answer was right there all along, sitting under a thin sheen of dust on her nightstand. All she needed to do was pick it up and start communicating with her Lord.
It sounds like she’s well on her way. All we know is that it very truly is in God’s hands now, and there is no better place to be! Praise be to God!
We pray continually for all of our hosts, guests, and fans daily and ask that you please join us in praying for Laura and her family, that her walk shall continue to blossom and Christ’s love shall flow through her and onward to those closest to her.
Thanks and God bless.
All for Him, we are… KR!
Keystone events don't come along very often, but when they do, they shine so brightly that their brilliance can almost never be forgotten.
Such was the case for the first annual Indy 500 TrackFest featuring the Give Me Jesus tour sponsored by Kingdom Racing. As our founder George del Canto proclaimed, "this was a watershed event in the history of Kingdom Racing!" He could not have been more correct.
Even the way the entire event came together was nothing short of watching God work some amazing miracles. At the beginning of the season, we'd planned on having some sort of fan festival at Indianapolis and established a committee to begin putting it together. What happened next was nothing short of astonishing.
It took one telephone call to the right person at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to set the whole thing in motion. The IMS folks were looking for some form of headliner event on Mother's Day and Kingdom Racing was looking to promote something similar. Pretty soon, we were working hand in hand with IMS officials to secure entertainment for the event when another telephone call produced an open date for the national Give Me Jesus tour featuring Building 429, the Rhett Walker Band, Finding Favour, and Carlos Whittaker. All that remained was putting the small details in place. It is without a doubt that God put all of the pieces together for this event to happen so smoothly. We literally stood back in amazement.
Check out photos from the 2013 Indy 500 TrackFest: CLICK HERE
Mother's Day at IMS began with an autograph session featuring George del Canto, Simon Pagenaud, and Tristan Vautier. The turnout was absolutely incredible. We even noticed a man in line for the session wearing a Kingdom Racing hat. When asked where he got it, he told us that he'd bought it at a local yard sale. God works in some really interesting ways, that's for sure!
Following the autograph session, we gave a personal garage tour to several band members and their support personnel before heading back to the Pagoda Plaza for a Q&A session with George, Davey Hamilton, and Sam Schmidt narrated by local Indianapolis television anchor, Rich Nye of WTHR 13.
When the concert finally began, race fans started gathering around the stage. Some stayed while others wandered off, but there was a steady presence of at least 200 people taking in the TrackFest concert at all times.
Several items of particular note were the fact that each band spent time between songs proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ over the powerful PA system used for the event, and as the concert ran late, the music and message was so forcefully loud that it could still be heard over the IMS press conferences taking place on live television. There is no telling how many people were reached with the message of Christ because of this. Only Our Father knows!
At the end of the day, everyone was tired but reinvigorated with a new fire to spread the Gospel throughout the month of May, the folks associated with the bands had gained a new appreciation for INDYCAR racing, and several hundred, if not thousands, of people had heard the Name of Names proclaimed in one of the largest sporting arenas in the world.
Make sure you check out the photos in the link above. If you are not yet a member of our online community, please join up now and invite your friends. And if you can send us a donation via the link on our website, it would enable us to further our work for God's kingdom. Stay tuned, because stories from our Miles of Smiles program at the Indy 500 are coming up next!