The Philadelphia Eagles, starting with Head Coach Doug Peterson thanking his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in an interview after the Super Bowl, followed by interviews with Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz, all giving the glory to God and Jesus I found inspiring. Wow, powerful, superb, fist pumping excitement, and then I remember our sport and how most tracks start with an invocation and then we all stand for the National Anthem, hats removed, and our hand across our heart. We are America!
It has not always been that way, but going back in time to 1992, Mike Weddle came to the Central Auto Racing Boosters and he wanted to bring a Ministry program to the local tracks. I-70 Speedway was the first to accept this offer. When Ted Carlson bought I-70 Speedway and then Lakeside Speedway Fast Track Ministries was at both tracks. Their primary duties were to say the invocation and be with driver’s family members when the needs would arise.
At Lakeside Speedway, because the pits were outside the track, I asked Fast Track Ministries to say an invocation at the start of the driver meeting. The blessing was immediate, when we start a prayer the drivers bowed their heads, removed their hats, and everyone got quiet. It made doing the driver’s meetings much easier.
We were fortunate to have an inspirational minister move from the southeast to our area and join the Fast Track Ministry team. He was here for only a few years but oh what an impact he made to the Kansas City Racing Community!
He really enjoyed the Faster Pastor races and like any racer he was and is competitive in these races to this day. Racing was his fun, Jesus was his passion. How influential was he? He started a church (Discovery Church) initially made up of racing families which met every Sunday morning even if it was a late night at the track. When he arrived at the track everyone knew he was there as he walked through the pits telling everyone Jesus Loves You.
Most people thanked Ralph Lee for his Jesus Loves You statements. However, one car owner came to me as Competition Director and asked me to ask Ralph not to stop by his pit. I told him he needed to tell Ralph himself. Ralph’s statement to each driver was instantly a relaxing comment. It would set the tone of racing for the night.
Ralph moved back to the southeast to be near family. He is still a minister today and occasionally attends races. His short time in Kansas City inspired many at the race tracks to make life long commitments to their beliefs.
It really is all about finding your place in racing whether it be a driver, a crew member, an official, a media person, a race fan, a track worker, or someone who starts the night by saying the invocation. Racingkc.com recognizes the love for the sport and the love for the people of our sport which was displayed by Ralph Lee to those of in the racing community. Thanks to Facebook and unfortunately due to some deaths in the local racing community I have seen how much racing people in this area meant to Ralph through his comments and Facebook posts. I believe many feel the same way, today we add Ralph Lee to the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame.