Here it is, the smoking hot Baptist preacher from the beautiful hills of Middle Tennessee – the pulsating heart of Nascar country - leading the prayer before the NASCAR Nationwide Federated Auto Parts 300 race at the Nashville Speedway and no telling how many thousands of bewildered and amused fans.
Prior to last week's race at the Nashville Speedway, few folks outside of the Lebanon-based Family Baptist Church had heard of Pastor Joe Nelms. “I’d go to church more often if I knew he was going to be there,” ABC Network late-night personality Jimmy Kimmel testified.
“Covering NASCAR for 40 years, I’ve heard a lot of ‘thank God and Goodyear’ pre-race prayers, but this one has to be the greatest in history of the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” sports writer Larry Woody wrote. “I’ll nominate it.” He went on to say, “I thought the ‘smokin’ hot’ prayer was fine, maybe a tad sacreligious, but I’ll bet the Good Lord chuckled a little too when He heard it.”
“I was there,” Church of Christ member Howard “Woody” Woody said. “Been in church all my life, and I’ve never heard any praying like that.”
When asked if he thought the prayer was “devout,” or maybe “unholy” or “disrespectful” in the other direction regarding Godly praying, La Vergne’s obviously-devout racing fan Woody Woody testified thusly: “I loved it … I know the preacher’s praying reached pretty high, for I was seated on the highest rung of seats, the nose-bleed bleachers in the stadium … I know the prayer got that high.”
“But, did the prayer get all the way up to God?” Woody Woody was asked.
“I believe it did, for a ‘Ford’ won the race,” Woody Woody offered as evidence.