Local Preachers Prepare For 2nd Annual Faster Pastor Race at AMS' Thursday Thunder
Monday, June 7, 2004
On a typical Sunday morning, Gary Lewis, Craig Bowers and Al O¿Quinn can be found preaching the bible to their congregations. But by Thursday evening, they may be trash talking.
Lewis, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, Bowers, pastor of First Baptist Church of Locust Grove, and O¿Quinn, pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, will race each other in the 2nd Annual Faster Pastor race next Thursday, June 10. The Faster Pastor race, presented by J93, will be the intermission race of the second week of Thursday Thunder, a 10-week summer racing series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The three pastors will not only compete against one another for a coveted trophy, but also for bragging rights ¿ and a good cause.
That¿s because the real winner will be Helping in His Name Ministries food pantry in McDonough, which will receive all canned foods donated by members of the churches involved in the Faster Pastor race.
To promote interaction among the different churches, members are asked to bring canned items and place them in barrels that belong to each pastor. Not only will the barrel with the most items guarantee the pastor the pole position, but it helps to benefit the community as well. Last year, Faster Pastor Night donations were enough to feed about 2700 families.
Lewis has already sent out emails and lists to his church, earning himself a head start for the pole position, but his competitors aren¿t worried.
¿It doesn¿t mean anything that he¿s already started,¿ says Bowers. ¿It¿s like the tortoise and the hare, it is how you finish the race in the end that counts. ¿
Members of their congregations will battle for most spirited. Each driver has selected a color that corresponds to his church¿s logo: Sharon Baptist Church will be red, First Baptist of Locust Grove will be green, and Bethany Baptist Church will be blue.
To prepare for the main event, each pastor had a chance to give the other competitors a preview of what is to come during practice sessions. While two of the pastors tested their cars¿ rev limiters, one pastor played it safe.
¿I had a crab in my leg,¿ said O¿Quinn. ¿I couldn¿t stretch out and put the pedal to the metal, but I¿m older, I¿ll take them when the race gets here.¿
His competition didn¿t believe O¿Quinn¿s explanation for a second.
¿He was sandbagging us from the moment he got in the car,¿ said Bowers. ¿We know him well and that he drove these in the 1970s. There is no fooling us, he will go faster at race time.¿
None of the pastors had raced prior to last week¿s practice, but all have driven motorcycles and recreational go-karts, and they know what it feels like to have the need for speed.
¿I have always wanted to drive around the track at 200 mph,¿ said Lewis. ¿Racing the go-karts at places like Malibu Grand Prix gave me a start. When I was asked to drive, I was so excited, I knew I could help contribute to the madness.¿
The second annual Faster Pastor race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will take place on June 10 as a part of the Thursday Thunder series. Thursday Thunder runs every Thursday through Aug. 5 and features Legends, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing.
Gates open at 6 p.m. and the racing action begins immediately. Tickets can be purchased at Gate 13 and admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children 6-11, and children under 5 are free.