Fans, Family, and Friends,
Every single year of my racing career, I was asked the question, “So what are your plans for next year?” Many drivers’ response to this question involved a certain step-by-step plan—what series they were racing in, what team they were racing for, and how many races they would be competing in. But if you know me, you know that my response to this question was typically very different. I would often respond with, “Wherever God leads me.” I could tell this was not the answer that people were looking for, but it was the only response that I felt I could honestly give. If I were to tell you anything other than this, I would be lying to you. Of course, with the help of those around me, we would plan each season with a goal in mind. This included deciding where to race, what team to race for, and how many races we hoped to compete in. However, as a believer in God’s sovereignty, I knew that these plans were not in my hands, but in His. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” We can do all we want to map out our future, and at times it can feel that we have everything under control, but in the blink of an eye, everything can change. It is when we surrender our intentions to the Lord and rely on Him to direct our steps that we can walk day-by-day knowing that He is guiding. This can often seem scary at times, but He is always with us, upholding us by His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). I am speaking this in confidence to you today because this is what God has been teaching me over the past few years of my life.
When I was very young in my racing career, I knew why I wanted to become a professional racecar driver. Just like many other drivers out there, I wanted to be successful. I wanted to experience the glory of being an accomplished racer. This was the reason I raced. Little did I know that this was not the reason God had me racing. I had been a believer since a very young age, but it wasn’t until my early teenage years that I really started taking seriously my relationship with Christ. As I became more mature in my faith, I began to integrate it into all parts of my life, including racing. As I grew closer to God, he began revealing to me things I had not realized before, one of those things being the reason I raced. In my own eyes, I realized that I was good at racing and could use it to make a living. However, in God’s eyes, he blessed me with the gift of being a good racecar driver and wanted me to use that gift to bring glory to His name. My outlook on racing began to change. I no longer wanted to race for personal success, but I began to use the platform God had given me to impact those around me in the racing community.
You may be wondering, if God has blessed me with the gift of driving racecars in circles really fast, then why am I writing this to you? Why am I stepping away from racing? This has been the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life, but I feel that this is the path that God is leading me down. I am also writing this to provide encouragement for anyone else who may be going through a similar situation.
I have many influential figures in my life. A few of those people include my parents and my marketing agent, Tonya McCallister. I know for a fact that these people wanted only the best for me and would support me through any decision that I made. However, I also felt a heavy pressure to please not only these people, but also all those around me. That is why this decision was extremely hard for me to make. I felt that if I decided to step away from racing, I would be letting so many people down. But the reality is, only we can determine what is best for us. Despite being given the gift to drive racecars, I didn’t have a passion to do it. On the surface and at the racetrack, it may have seemed that this passion to race was there, but I just did a good job at making it seem that way. Honestly, I felt like every single time I stepped on the racetrack, I would put on a mask that would tell everyone I had the passion to do this. But I didn’t. I felt that I was racing because everyone thought I wanted to race. Of course, I still wanted to live out my faith at the racetrack and have everyone see Christ in me by the way I carried myself, but I just couldn’t find the passion for racing that every professional racecar driver possesses.
It is the lack of passion that I feel is the main driving factor behind me deciding to step away from the sport. I feel that if I were to continue racing, I would just be wasting the time, resources, and energy of those who support me because I would not be giving them my 100%.
If I have made it clear that God has gifted me with the ability to drive a racecar, then you may be wondering why I am stepping away from this gift and not pursuing racing. This is a thought that kept me from making this decision sooner; I felt that I was forfeiting the one gift that God has given me. I was faced with the thought that if I quit racing, I would completely miss out on the opportunity God gave me to serve those in the racing community. However, one thing God has been showing me over the past couple of years, especially in my time here at Liberty, is that God can use anyone anywhere. While it may be true that God gave me the ability to drive racecars, He also gave me the ability to show compassion and serve others in whatever I do. While it may be true that God could have used me to serve others through racing, there is an entire world out there that God has called us to. I know that God has me attending Liberty University for a reason. In just the one short year that I have attended this school, God has placed numerous life-changing people in my life and has even placed me in the lives of many others that need encouragement and love. If I have learned anything in my time at Liberty, it is that God needs us everywhere. As a follower of Christ, it is my privilege and duty to be His hands and feet no matter where I go. Whether that is at a racetrack, on a university campus, or in whatever future profession God places me in.
While I am sure of my decision to step away from racing, I do not regret anything that has happened to me over the past 14 years of my racing career. I cannot express in words how thankful I am for each and every person that God put in my life through racing, including all of my supporters and fans that I was able to reach, all the teams that I raced for, all the competitors that I had the privilege of competing against, and all my sponsors over the years that have made this possible. I first and foremost want to express my gratitude towards my parents for always being there for me and supporting me every step of the way. I am thankful for their commitment to me not only as a racecar driver, but also as a son and a child of God. Much of the person that I am today is thanks to them. I am thankful for all the insight they have spoken to me over the years and for the unconditional love they showed me, even through difficult decisions like this one.
I also want to express my thankfulness to Tonya McCallister. She not only represented me on the racetrack as my marketing agent, but she has become a lifelong friend of mine. I am thankful for endless work she put into to ensuring that I was given the best opportunity at succeeding in the sport. I am even more thankful for the relationship that was formed between us over the years and is something I never hope to lose.
To every single team owner and crew member that has worked with me over the past 14 years, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity. I could sit here and list the names of many people, and I am grateful for each person I have had the privilege of working with, but I want to highlight one team in particular. I have raced with Lee Faulk Racing and Development for the past three years now and I have learned from them what it takes to succeed in the sport. I am thankful for every opportunity they gave me to strap on a helmet and represent them at the track and inside the driver’s seat. I am thankful for the patience they showed me when I failed to perform and endless effort they put forth week in and week out both at the track and at the shop. I want to thank both Michael and Lee Faulk for helping me become a better racecar driver and showing me what it looks like to exhibit excellence at what you do. I am also thankful for the opportunity I had to drive an ARCA car for Win-Tron racing. The experience I got driving these cars at almost 200 mph is something that I will never forget. I know that my time with this team was very limited, but still want to acknowledge this group of people for believing in me to represent their team in the ARCA Menards Racing Series.
I also want to highlight those who have believed in me enough to support my racing, including AM Technical Solutions and Sparrow Ranch on the Island, among numerous others. It is because of these people that I was able to compete at the level of racing that I did. I am extremely thankful for the relationship that I have with Ricky Teal at Sparrow Ranch on the Island and for all the work that he is doing both at the racetrack and through his ministry. Even though our time together at the racetrack may be over, I know that the relationship we have made over the past year will be something we will eternally cherish. To all those unmentioned, who have helped me along the way, I thank you for believing in me, supporting me, and for making it possible for me to compete in this sport.
Lastly, I want to recognize all my fans. I know that this message probably has come as a surprise to you. I hope that I have been a good representative of the racing industry in my time with the sport and I hope that you are understanding with this decision of mine to step away. I am so thankful for every opportunity I was able to spend with you at track before and after the race and for the relationships that I was able to make. I love each and every one of you, and I am thankful for all the support you have shown me over the years.
To sum up message, I want to inform you all about where I am at in my life right now. I am currently a sophomore at Liberty University studying mechanical engineering. Aside from racing, God has gifted me with a very analytical mindset. I truly enjoy the challenge that comes with what I am doing in the mechanical engineering degree program. I have also just recently become a part of the Formula SAE Electric competition team that the Liberty University School of Engineering puts on. I am glad that I can bring together my experience with racing along with the skills I am learning as a young engineer to design, fabricate, and compete a formula car against other universities around the nation. In addition to this, I am also serving on hall leadership in my dorms this year as a Community Group Leader. I am so excited to be able to lead a group of guys in fellowship and excited to see what God is going to do through the Liberty University student body. As mentioned before, I know that God has me at this school for a reason. The past year that I have been a student here has undoubtedly been the best year of my life. The relationships that I have made are incomparable and will last far beyond the day I graduate. God has really taught me so much in the little time that I have been a part of this family. This school has truly showed me what it looks like to be an ambassador for Christ in all areas of my life.
With all of that said, I just want to offer encouragement to anyone who is reading this. I don’t know where you are at in your life right now, but I want you to know that God is near. Whether you realize it or not, God is chasing you down with unconditional love. A love so great that He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to die for you so that you could be in relationship with Him. It is because of this sacrifice that I can live my life without fear of tomorrow, knowing that God cares about me and God cares about you. Even though I may no longer be racing, I am still running the race. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” I pray that my time involved with racing was not wasted, and that I have made an impact everywhere I have gone. I am excited to see where God takes me next. I encourage you to pray for me, that I will not lose heart in this race that I am running, and that God will continue to reveal to me where He wants me in this life. Thank you for taking the time to read this message and I pray that it brought encouragement to you in some way.