By Chad Bonham
2008 Aaron’s 499: Talladega Speedway (April 27, 2008)
Sam Hornish Jr. was having a bad day.
It didn’t start out bad, but several laps into the 2008 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Speedway the tires on his #77 car started to vibrate.
“We’ve got to pit,” Hornish communicated to his crew chief.
After changing two tires, Hornish went back on the track only to discover that the problem hadn’t gone away. To make matters worse, he was well behind the pack and lost the draft. Hornish was going backwards and decided to pit for two more fresh tires.
“Right before I came in, the right front tire blew out,” he recalled. “So then we went two laps down. We tried to stay upbeat about it and we got one of our laps back. When it was time to pit again for fuel, we came in and the yellow flag came back out so we were two laps down again. We knew it just wasn’t going to be our day. But we kept running and with a few more cautions we felt like we might be able to get back on the lead lap. Right before another yellow flag came out, our engine started to blow up.”
In the moment, Hornish was understandably frustrated. Stock car racing is incredibly competitive and NASCAR drivers are generally passionate about performing well and winning races. Finishing eight laps back and in 35th place only added to his disappointment.
But after some time passed, Hornish remembered something he had heard in chapel service earlier that day from Motor Racing Outreach chaplain Lonnie Clouse. A portion of Clouse’s text was from the first and second chapters of Job, which detailed the intense trials that the Old Testament icon faced.
“One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’ While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’ While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’ While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’” (Job 1:13-19)
In the next chapter, things got even worse for Job when he was stricken with painful boils and blisters all over this body. Remembering that story caused Hornish to see his unfortunate day from a different perspective.
“It’s amazing how you can be really down and thinking that things are terrible and they’re not going to work out,” he said in the book Teamwork. “Then you go to chapel and you hear about some of the real problems you can go through in life. While this is our livelihood, this is also just one part of life. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out right. Hopefully I don’t have to go through anything like that, but when you hear a message like that, you realize what you’re going through is not that bad.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
(Photos: NASCAR Media; Chris Graythen/Getty Images; Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR)