Baylor Lecturer Writes Book On Top Nascar, Indy Racers

May 23, 1997

WACO, Texas - Robert Darden, Baylor University lecturer in English, has recently released Wheels of Thunder, a book about life on the car racing circuit.

The book describes the life and faith of more than 30 top NASCAR and Indy race car drivers, mechanics and owners including Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Johnny Parsons Jr. and Joe Gibbs, former coach of the super bowl champion teams of the Washington Redskins and now owner of Joe Gibbs Racing.

Darden spent time in Charlotte, N.C., conducting numerous hours of interviews and getting to know the racing world. He said Christianity strongly influences the racing community.

"There are more Christians per capita in NASCAR racing than any other sport," Darden said. "Most of the top drivers are Christians, so it's a good example for the younger drivers."

The racer's commitment to God comes as a result of spiritual as well as practical reasons, Darden said.

"If you are driving 200 mph and you sneeze, you better be ready to meet your maker," he explained. Because of the traveling lifestyle of NASCAR and Indy racers, most racing teams hold Sunday morning chapel services, lunch-time Bible studies and chaplains regularly visit the racers at their workshops.

"This sport is far and away the most demanding on the athletes time," said Darden, who has written similar books on other professional sports. Darden said racing is the fastest growing sport currently in America, but he said the racers do not let their success go to their heads. "They are the most approachable of all professional athletes. They stop and talk with fans at anytime."

Darden has published more than 20 books on various Christian themes. His second most recent book, The Way of an Eagle, describes the life and faith of professional golfers. The book earned a nomination in 1996 by the International Golfers Association for Golf Book of the Year. Darden's future projects include I, Jesus, expected to released in June; a historical narrative of the Waco-McLennan County Library for its 100th anniversary to be released in 1998; and his first science fiction novel expected to released in the near future.

For more information, contact Darden at (817) 755-1768

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