PITTSBORO, N.C. (July 24, 2018): There’s often reason for celebration at the race track. Each event, winners are crowned and someone goes home with a shiny new trophy and some hard-earned cash. It’s one of the main reasons we show up at the track week after week. But, most are quick to also realize that though the cars and speed are part of the passion, it’s the people who make it all worthwhile. And even when we celebrate performance, it’s really the people behind the accomplishments we’re cheering on.
One of the PDRA mottos was fully lived out at the recent Firecracker Nationals, as people celebrated in a whole new way. PDRA owners Tommy and Judy Franklin have never been shy about their faith in Jesus Christ, often incorporating it into their various activities. A church service is offered at every PDRA event through God Speed Ministry and each event is led off with a prayer.
At the beginning of this year, chaplain Tommy D’Aprile suggested holding baptisms at an event. People quickly began responding and a date was set.
Eight people were baptized at the Firecracker Nationals, held at Virginia Motorsports Park on Saturday, June 30. It was the first time such a celebration had been held at a PDRA event, and one that won’t be forgotten any time soon by all in attendance.
“I saw God moving, and I believe we should do it more often at the races,” D’Aprile said of the baptisms.
“People feel comfortable around their racing family. So cool.”“The PDRA is all about faith, family, & racing,” stated Judy Franklin. “So when Tommy D’Aprile and Renee Bingham came to me to ask if we could do water baptisms at our Virginia race, I said absolutely that’s a great idea! The opportunity of doing water baptisms at a PDRA event – let alone at our racetrack – was something that we dreamed of! I feel that God has put Tommy [Franklin], the girls, and I in the drag racing community for this reason, to bring others to Christ!”
The baptisms really hit home for Tommy and Judy since their youngest daughter was one of the eight. “We were blessed to watch our youngest, Ashley get baptized at the race! Let me tell you, the tears were rolling and we were so happy to watch her make this decision! Tommy D’Aprile is such a wonderful mentor to our Junior Dragster drivers, and we had at least six of our junior drivers get baptized that day.”
Many people took to social media to share their thoughts on what happened that day:
“I’m most thankful for is God Speed Ministry, Renee Bingham and Tommy D’Aprile. I’m watching my kids accept the Lord in a whole new light. They go to Church with me on Saturday mornings because they enjoy it, yes ENJOY it. It’s fun, it’s upbeat, it’s real life. PDRA puts God first and is faith driven. This organization has done so much more than turn on win lights for my kids, it’s brought them closer to God; it’s making them BETTER PEOPLE and for that I will forever be grateful!”
“The PDRA is impacting lives of people. I am one of them, but there are many. To have a professional racing organization that puts GOD first with a FAMILY based atmosphere. I am very blessed to be a small small part of the PDRA but I am HUGE benefactor of what GOD is doing through this organization.”
“I’ve been trying to tell people this for three years now. The PDRA is absolutely the best racing organization anywhere. From our first race three years ago at Rockingham Dragway when Renee Bingham started praying on the starting line for the Ronnie Davis crash. I think almost every person on the property was on the starting praying with her. Now we look forward to Saturday mornings with Tommy D’Aprile. God has truly blessed us with our racing family.”
“There were 98 people at church at 8:15,” added God Speed Ministry President, Renee Bingham. “Several people had testimonies of what this meant to them and the differences their baptisms made. We love being a part of the PDRA and amazing celebrations like this.”
Renee also mentioned that God Speed Ministry is looking for a chaplain to travel to each PDRA event to serve specifically in the staging lanes.
“What a great testimony to what the PDRA family is about- loving and supporting each other in all that we do,” added Judy. “We are looking forward to doing this again at a future event. We have the pool in our motorhome for anyone wanting to get baptized. You can do so by reaching out to Tommy D’Aprile or Renee Bingham!
“We all love this sport of drag racing but it really is about something bigger than drag racing!”
ABOUT THE PDRA
Based in Pittsboro, North Carolina, the Professional Drag Racers Association is the top sanctioning body in the United States for the sport of eighth-mile drag racing. The PDRA’s professional categories include Pro Extreme, Pro Nitrous, Pro Boost, Extreme Pro Stock and Pro Extreme Motorcycle along with several sportsman and various exhibition categories. The 2018 PDRA schedule consists of eight national events. For more on the world’s premier eighth-mile drag racing organization visit www.pdra660.com. Follow the PDRA: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube.