Life in the Fast Lane: NASCAR Driver Makes Kids’ Dreams Come True

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We thought it was generous of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd to put a huge Salvation Army logo on the hood of his race car, but Shepherd didn’t stop there.

[Dijonae (left) and Kevante' (right) got the full NASCAR experience as VIP guests of driver Morgan Shepherd.]
Dijonae (left) and Kevante’ (right) got the full NASCAR experience as VIP guests of driver Morgan Shepherd.

He made sure siblings Kevante’ (10) and Dijonae (12) got VIP treatment this weekend when he invited them to watch the race as his special guests and get the full experience of the track.

Kevante’ and Dijonae are involved in several Salvation Army youth programs and local to Daytona. When they learned about the opportunity to meet Shepherd, they jumped at the chance. These kids have always been NASCAR enthusiasts, but this is the first race they’ve ever attended.

[Kevante's ready to take Shepherd's #89 Salvation Army car for a spin.]
Kevante’s ready to take Shepherd’s #89 Salvation Army car for a spin.

“He’s wanted to be a NASCAR driver since he first learned about stock car racing”, said his Kevante’s grandmother Renese.

Maybe he hasn’t quite grown into that driver’s seat yet, but he looks like he belongs behind the wheel!

“I’ve seen every race, I know all the drivers and their stats, and I can’t wait to go under the tunnel to experience it all,” Kevante said.

["The Salvation Army car" gets a check up under the hood alongside several others in the NASCAR garages.]
“The Salvation Army car” gets a check up under the hood alongside several other cars in the NASCAR garages.

And experience it they did! Besides getting behind the wheel of Morgan’s #89 Salvation Army car, the kids toured pit row and even met other NASCAR Champions and drivers.

[The kids, pictured with Morgan Shepherd (center) and local Salvation Army officers, tour the track before the race.]
The kids, pictured with Morgan Shepherd (center) and local Salvation Army officers, tour the track before the race.

Wow. There is no better way for fans to experience NASCAR! Thanks, Morgan, for giving these kids an experience they’ll remember the rest of their lives.

Shepherd loved providing this opportunity for Kevante’ and Dijonae. Though he may not have a major sponsor, making it difficult for him to compete, Shepherd knows millions of Americans are suffering from the slow economy. That’s why he and his team are doing the best they can to promote The Salvation Army and what we do to assist those in need.

[Decked out in their new NASCAR gear courtesy of Morgan Shepherd, Dijonae and Kevante' look like NASCAR pros!]
Decked out in their new NASCAR gear courtesy of Morgan Shepherd, Dijonae and Kevante’ look like NASCAR pros!

We think what Shepherd is doing is so great that we plan to partner with him in more races! We’ll keep you in the loop, and you keep an eye out for our Red Shield zooming around more tracks soon.

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Look for Us at Daytona!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

[Morgan Shepard The Salvation Army Daytona car 2011. ©Phil Cavali]
Morgan Shepherd will race his #89 Salvation Army Nationwide Series car at Daytona on Feb 19. ©Phil Cavali

Tune in to NASCAR’s Daytona 500 on February 19, and you’ll see The Salvation Army racing around the track!

That’s because NASCAR veteran Morgan Shepherd has generously “donated” the hood of his #89 Nationwide Series race car to our organization and will be sporting our Red Shield and ‘Doing the Most Good’ brand promise.

At age 69, Shepherd is the founder of Victory in Jesus Racing Ministries, and while he’s got a small team with limited means, he’s still searching for opportunities to give back.

“There are millions in our country right now who have lost their jobs, their homes, and their spirit,” Shepherd said. “The demand is very high and we thought we could take our “ministry on wheels” to a higher level and assist The Salvation Army when they need it the most. I’ve been blessed in so many ways over my career, and this is a way of giving back in honor of our fans and supporters. We don’t have much, but what we have, we can “donate” to The Salvation Army.”

Get to know more about our newest partner and driver of #89 Salvation Army Nationwide Series Team through the below Q &A. We hope you’ll root for Morgan Shepherd on race day! Learn more about his efforts at WWW.RACEWITHFAITH.COM

Q: How Long have you been racing?

A: “I’ve been racing in Nascar since 1970. I’ve been racing for The Lord Jesus Christ since I found him in 1975. Over 40 years total and over 800 races.”

Q: What’s (What does) it feel like to represent The Salvation Army in Nascar?

A: “Well, you gotta respect anything that’s been around longer than I have.(laughs). But Man! What an honor. The Salvation Army has been around for what, over 130 years? They are so dedicated to “doing the most good” for those in need helping the needy and the impoverished and most importantly in a Christian manner that makes our team really excited to show off their Red Shield and “Doing The Most Good” motto branding promise at Daytona.”

Q: What is Morgan Shepherd’s motto?

A: I’ve read and been told to hang it up or retire. I’m too old, or we don’t have the funding to compete. But I feel really good, my health is fine, I take care of myself, and most importantly, I have faith. So my
motto is simple, “Faith is something you believe in when common sense tells you not to.”

Q: You say you feel great, but do you have the tools necessary to compete against drivers 1/2 to 1/3rd your age and teams with far superior technology and equipment?

A: “The most powerful tool I have is the power of prayer. Don’t underestimate it. You hear people say when things go bad, Why did God do this to me? Sometimes God has nothing to do with it. Sometimes you turn your back on him and you’re on your own. Bad things can happen to good people. They lose their jobs, their homes, their car, and then their spirit. Prayer is always the answer. Don’t turn your back on the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray hard and often and he will listen, and do what he feels is right for you.”

Q: Any racing goals for 2011?

A: “Well we certainly would like to put The Salvation Army in the winners circle, but we are a very small team with limited funding compared to many of the other teams, so realistically, I’d like to be the oldest driver in Nascar’s upper-two levels to finish a race in the Top 10. I think the record is 59 years of age. I’d like to get a Top 10. We’ve come close the last couple of years, but it just didn’t fall our way. I have faith we can do it.”

Q: Morgan, you are very spiritual. Any favorite passages from The Bible?

A: “Well I always like the story of David and Goliath. The original underdog story. David had no chance, but young David took out a rock and set it in his sling and slung it. Striking the phillistine in the head, and he fell to the ground. I feel like David sometimes. But I’d say my favorite passage would be Hebrews 12:1….LET US RUN WITH ENDURANCE THE RACE GOD HAS SET BEFORE US.”

To follow Morgan Shepherd and The Salvation Army Race Team, visit www.racewithfaith.com, or go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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