>> by Diane Morrow
B&B Media Group
HOUSTON—Kingdom Racing, the popular Christian motorsports outreach team active in the IZOD INDYCAR Series, is truly making a difference. Since 2008, this faith-vision racing team is reaching people with the Gospel via the fastest growing fan base in sports today.
An amazing first win in Detroit following Indianapolis had team co-owner Davey Hamilton beaming.
“The Detroit win was definitely a milestone for the entire team,” he said. “A lot of hard work went into it, and hopefully, there’s a few more down the road!”
As its founder and co-owner, Houston businessman George Del Canto shares his passion for its ministry and the life-changing ways it touches hearts for God.
“Our mission, to ‘deliver God’s Word through motorsports,’ means we’re all about winning hearts and lives for Christ,” he said.
Kingdom Racing focuses its two dynamic outreach ministries on difficulties or losses identified through local organizations and churches.
“We treat those in need like rock stars,” Del Canto nods, “giving them deeply personal VIP access to the racing team for the entire day, ministering to them, loving them. To reach the entire racing community, our track-side Fan Festivals feature show cars, autograph sessions, top Christian entertainment and more—offering experiences and resources that touch people in a comfortable way, giving them an opportunity to think about God.”
A successful INDY 500 TrakFest Fan Festival in May was a huge success according to Del Canto.
“The IMS has always held a special place in my heart since I was a small boy. My dad used to take me to the 500 every year, and though I didn’t realize it then, that was when Kingdom Racing was born,” he related. “You see, the Lord knows the desires of your heart. When you ask ‘what can I do for You, Lord?,’ He will answer in the special design He has planned for you.
“In this light, it was all the more overwhelming to have seen the ‘Give me Jesus’ tour take place this year on opening weekend of practice for the 500. What a victory to publicly proclaim Jesus is Lord in the heart of the racing capital of the world. How humbling to know that the Lord allows us to serve him. This is Kingdom Racing!”
Officially kicked off March 24 in St. Petersburg, Fla., the Miles of Smiles ministry will continue to bless individuals and families this fall at the Grand Prix Houston Oct. 5-6.
“What an honor it has been this season to meet some wonderful people through the Miles of Smiles program. Guests have experienced life-altering moments, and we’ve had the opportunity to share with them the hope, joy, and life that can be had, through Christ,” said Miles of Smiles Ministry Director Tim Carrie.
While 2008 marked the launch of Kingdom Racing as the first faith-based team to compete in the Indy 500, its conception began years earlier and resulted from Del Canto’s personal journey of loss and restoration.
“A dozen years ago, I found myself bankrupt,” he explained. “Financially, emotionally and spiritually. One night I knelt down and cried, ‘God, I can’t take this anymore. I give all my problems to You. You find a way.’ And He did.”
Later, while in a prayer group that challenged him to carry out a “big dream for God,” Del Canto remembers his wife asking him, “What is your big dream for God, George?”
“I’m going to build an INDYCAR team and deliver God’s Word through motorsports,” he instantly replied, believing without a doubt that God gave him the idea as he unconsciously formed the words.
And Kingdom Racing was born. Now, five years later, key relationships have been formed with national partners and ministries such as Man in the Mirror, Creation Museum, Fiesta Mart, Inc., Athletes in Action, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, INDYCAR Ministry and CRU (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ International).
When Del Canto first began putting the team together, he soon met INDYCAR driver and national champion Davey Hamilton, and quickly realized that he was the embodiment of the Kingdom Racing story—a man who at one time had felt washed up, yet found healing in Christ. Indeed, Hamilton had survived a horrific crash in 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway that almost led to the amputation of his legs. Turning to God in his brokenness, Hamilton endured 21 surgeries over six years before “God helped me return to the cockpit,” he said, reviving his racing career.
In 2012, the Kingdom Racing team celebrated a fifth-place overall finish in the IZOD INDYCAR series championship, and concluded its first full season of INDYCAR competition. Now poised for a superior outcome this year, Kingdom Racing is partnering once again with Hamilton and will field the No. 77 Dallara Honda driven by INDYCAR 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud.
“We want to cheer our team on to victory,” Del Canto said. “A winning season gives us an incredible platform for sharing God’s Word.”
After losing his first wife to cancer in 2008, George remarried, and now works daily alongside his new wife, Maricarmen, to carry out the Kingdom Racing mission. Now with the goal to reach “one million men for Christ,” Kingdom Racing looks forward to “winning” each race in a deeply passionate way, “all for His glory,”
“With God at our side, seeking Him in all things, we can run the race of this life, deliver His Word and celebrate true victory,” Del Canto affirmed.
For more information, visit www.King
domRacing.net or join their fan communities at KingdomRacing on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.