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Watchwoman: We follow NASCAR for many reasons, one of them being that we find NASCAR to be the only sport televised where they pray before every race — and “99%” of the time “in the Name of Jesus Christ!” They sing the “National Anthem” straight, and almost all pay complete attention, every one of the drivers, pit crews and audience, stand at attention, remove their hats and put their hands over their hearts or salute. They are aligned with racing, religion and patriotism, exactly like the fellow Mark MacCaull, a Southern Baptist and Israel supporter, points out below. February 26 is the first full field NASCAR race of the season at Daytona Beach. Check your local TV listings for its broadcast time in your local. This past Saturday, February 18, there was a “shootout” at Daytona with only 25 cars, only 13 finished. Jeff Gordon (#24, “Drive to End Hunger” car) and Jimmy Johnson (#48, the Lowe’s car) my two personal favorites, were involved in a spectacular crash that had me terrified. I thought for sure that Gordon would be severely injured, but he was okay. Gordon flipped over, slid for 1,000 feet on his driver’s side door and barreled rolled over and over and over and over and landed upside-down. It was the first time Gordon ever turned over. Kyle Busch (#18, M&M’s car) sometimes referred to as vile-Kyle, surely deserved to win the shootout. He drove the wheels off his car, driving like a true champion. Several times Kyle was turned sideways during the race, but artfully and masterfully managed to get his car back under control, then went onto win the race passing Tony Stewart and gaining about a two-foot advantage in front of Stewart as they crossed the finish line. Kyle’s car had pieces falling off it after being involved in several incidents and accidents and how he managed to win deserved a real standing “O”. Saturday’s race was one of the most exciting, heart-thumping, nail-biting, dramatic sporting event I have seen in years. We’re always excited about the opening of NASCAR racing season at Daytona and we’ll be looking for the #49 car driven by J. J. Yeley the “American Israel Racing” Toyota at the Daytona 500 sporting support for American/Israeli relations. Looking forward to hearing that rousing sound of roaring engines, pure power and Darrell Waltrip shouting, ” Boogatie! Boogatie! Boogatie! Let’s go racing boys!” . . . as they come around the final corner heading towards 200 mph to the starting flag at Daytona Speedway on February 26. ▬ Donna Calvin
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#49 Car in 2012 will display both the American and Israeli Flags
One of the cars in this year’s Daytona 500 will bear an unmistakable message of support for American-Israeli relations, thanks to a couple of NASCAR fans in Charlotte, N.C.
The No. 49 “America Israel Racing” car will have an American flag and an Israeli flag along with an eagle on the hood when it takes to the track Feb. 26 in Florida.
Rich Shirey and Mark MacCaull want to educate the public about the relationship between the United States and the Middle Eastern nation steeped in biblical history, so they funded the car for the marquis race at a cost of around $10 million, according to WCNC-TV in Charlotte.
“NASCAR is the only sport televised where they pray before every race,” MacCaull said. “They are aligned with racing, religion and patriotism.”
Shirey admitted the sponsorship is expensive, but “being brought up Southern Baptist, I was always taught we stand behind Israel. This is a way I felt I could give back to society. It’s something I believe in.”
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Racing and politics generally don’t get along too well, so credit America Israel Racing for bringing foreign-policy concerns right to NASCAR’s doorstep. The No. 49 Robinson-Blakeney Racing Toyota will run in the Daytona 500, with JJ Yeley behind the wheel.
The paint scheme, as you can see above, blends both the U.S. and Israeli flags, in accordance with AIR’s mission to promote America’s continued support of Israel. No idea how well that’s going to play amid the cacophony of sound and fury that is the Daytona 500, but give AIR credit for taking a stand where others haven’t.
From a symbolic perspective, you’ll note that the eagle looks like he’s ready to swoop right down on you, but he’s also clutching an olive branch, the symbol of peace, in his beak. So there you have it. For more on America Israel Racing, check out their Facebook page right here. The team hopes to continue racing after Daytona, but as yet has announced no future plans.
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