LUCAMA, NC – Every race at Southern National Motorsports Park, track chaplain Troy Pennington delivers an invocation during pre-race ceremonies, but the invocation is more than just ceremonial.
Pennington, 48, from New Bern, North Carolina is a former professional basketball player and a life-long race fans who currently works with Motor Racing Outreach (MRO).
“I’ve always been a race fan since I was a little boy,” Pennington said. “My parents were always going to Daytona back in the early 70s so I’ve always been a race fan. With MRO, this is my second year at Southern National. I have been a health club manager for 19 years and before that, I played professional basketball for a team called the Washington Generals that traveled with the Harlem Globetrotters.”
Last year, in what Pennington says was nothing short of God’s will, Pennington joined MRO and, when he went to orientation, fate took its course and next thing he knew, he was at Southern National.
“A friend of mine is a chaplain with the NASCAR series, Nick Terry, so we just got to talking,” Pennington explained. “He said, ‘man you got a big heart for people, you’re a follower of Jesus Christ and you out to look into doing something like what I do.’ So I went and took all the classes through MRO and the day that I went to take class, Southern National called up to a gentleman named Kyle Froman and said they were looking for a chaplain.
“As soon as I walked in, he was getting off the elevator and just got off the phone with Juston Ellis so we know God set that up.”
While Pennington takes great joy in his role at Southern National, he says it’s not all about him, but about the racers, the fans, the racing community and about God.
“It’s been a great two years here, just coming to serve the teams and our officials and race fans here,” Pennington remarked. “It’s not about me, it’s about praying for these drivers before they go off and race because, as we know, they could be in a serious accident and they can die. So, we just want to pray for them before they race and be here for the families and all the fans and all the staff at Southern National if they need anything.”
Troy Pennington gives the invocation before each race at Southern National Motorsports Park.
Southern National Motorsports Park returns to action on Friday night with the StottStrong 195 presented by Solid Rock Carriers, headlined by twin Late Model races.
For more information about Southern National Motorsports Park, check out SNMP’s website at www.snmpark.com, “like” Southern National Motorsports Park on Facebook or “follow” @SNM_Park on Twitter.