Before Saturday night’s Nationwide Federated Auto Parts 300, Pastor Joe Nelms of Nashville’s Family Baptist Church was asked to pray. And pray, he did!
Before the NASCAR crowd at Nashville Superspeedway Nelms notes that God tells us to be thankful for all things — and then goes on to thank the Almighty for “these mighty machines that you brought before us. Thank you for the Dodges and Toyotas. Thank you for the Fords and most of all we thank you for Roush and Yates partnering to give us the power we see before us tonight. Thank you for GM Performance Technology and R07 engines. Thank you for Sunoco racing fuel and Goodyear tires that bring performance and power to the track. Lord, I want to thank you for my smokin’ hot wife …’’
The respectful crowd begins to suspect something is up about the time he starts thanking God for Sonoco racing fuel. Drivers can be seen looking up and chuckling. But the line about his smokin’ hot wife — a line from the movie “Talladega Nights’’ brings the house down. The crowd roars — but with the cadence of a Southern preacher, Nelm’s voice rises in magnitude as he continues past “for my smokin’ hot wife tonight, Lisa,” and includes his kids: “and my two children, Eli and Emma, or as we like to call them, ‘The Little E’s.’ ”
Perhaps the most unforgettable line of the prayer comes when Nelms quotes NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip at the end of his prayer.
“In Jesus’ name, Boogity Boogity Boogity, amen,” Nelms proclaims.
Race winner Carl Edwards appreciated the humor that came with Nelms’ prayer.
“I turned to Jack (Roush) after that. I said, ‘If anything happens, I want him to be at my funeral.’ That was one of the best invocations I have ever heard.”