Area Ministers To Race To Determine the Faster Pastor at Thursday Thunder
Monday, July 7, 2003
Four local ministers will trade the pulpit for the cockpit this week during Thursday Thunder at Atlanta Motor Speedway during the first Faster Pastor event at the track.
The four pastors - Randy Valimont of First Assembly of God, Steve Stewart of Oak Hill Baptist Church, Ted Moody of Mt. Gilead Church and Dan Brown of First United Methodist - took their first laps in a Legends series car last week but are already pumped up about this Thursday's showdown.
¿Faster Pastor is going to be good for everyone - it will unite the community, help the kids who race and benefit the hungry,¿ Moody said.
The starting positions will be determined by a canned food drive, with the food collected benefiting the Five Loaves and Two Fishes Food Pantry in Griffin. Each pastor will have a barrel at the gate, and the one with the most food starts on the pole.
¿Five Loaves and Two Fishes really helps our community, and we wanted to make sure this race was not only fun but beneficial as well,¿ Brown said.
The race is sure to be fun, as well, however, because none of the four ministers had ever been in a Legends car before the recent practice session.
As they watched their fellow competitors practice, they proved just because they are men of God doesn¿t mean they can¿t talk a little trash about one another.
Valimont was the first out and showed he knew his way around the ¼-mile track.
¿I¿m ready to get this thing on,¿ Valimont said. ¿I just showed them a little bit during practice. I¿m going to show them everything on Thursday.¿
The others disagreed, one joking, ¿Randy drives like he preaches: loud and in circles.¿
By the end of the conversation, no one would admit who initially made the remark, but they were all willing to take credit for it.
Stewart and Moody also took their turns in a Legends car, both putting in strong laps for rookies. Brown was quick but overcorrected going into turn three and ended up putting one of the Legends machines through the chain-link fence around the practice area.
¿Ya¿ll see that happen to Dan?¿ Valimont joked. ¿Stay away from me and that won¿t happen to anyone else.¿
Stewart, however, was not taking any more from Valimont.
¿You¿ll have to catch me before you can spin me,¿ he said.
To bolster support for their favorite driver, audience members will be asked to display a special color for each minister: Valimont is red, Stewart is blue, Moody is orange and Brown is green.
¿I¿ve got to get my congregation out here,¿ Brown said. ¿They¿ve got to pay for all the damage I did in my practice laps somehow. I need to see lots of green in the stands.¿
By the end of the first practice period, everyone had seemingly learned at least the basics behind succeeding on the Thunder Ring.
Their advice was simple, really.
¿Don¿t do a Dan,¿ Stewart said.
The first Faster Pastor race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will take place Thursday as a part of the Thursday Thunder series. Thursday Thunder runs each Thursday through Aug. 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with Legends, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing. Gates open at 6 p.m. and action begins immediately. Tickets can be purchased at Gate 13 the night of the event and admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children 6-11 and children under 5 are free.