Beyond the Track: Nick Terry

Drivers. Spotters. Crew chiefs. Pit Crew members. These are all jobs that come to mind when one speaks about NASCAR. Certainly, these folks are on the front lines. This Beyond the Track series will introduce you to a handful of the countless people that play a unique role in bringing NASCAR to the track and TV week in and week out.

 

Meet Nick Terry, Motor Racing Outreach Chaplain

As is the case with many within the sport of NASCAR, Nick Terry has a unique story chronicling his journey to becoming a Chaplain with Motor Racing Outreach.

While Terry knew he wanted to serve full-time in ministry, he was aiming first to have a career within the sport. He spent 10 years as a jackman with Richard Childress Racing. As the call to ministry made itself more evident in his life, he started attending Liberty University Online. Throughout his schooling, he was still traveling with RCR each week. 

Initially, he did not have MRO on his radar as an eventual landing spot. However, he admits it has ultimately been a good fit for him and his family.

 

“Our Focus is Caring for the Race Community”

One might wonder what in the world Motor Racing Outreach does. You might recognize Terry’s name from a pre-race invocation or maybe the grid prior to a race where you saw him praying with drivers and their families.

Nick Terry takes a moment to pray with Justin Allgaier pre-race. Image provided by Nick Terry.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Terry summed up the mission of MRO saying, “We’re just available as people need us.”

This availability at the track, and away, is for traveling members of the NASCAR community. This includes, but is not limited to, drivers, crew members, crew chiefs and spotters, motorhome drivers, officials, and media members.

A Chaplain’s Day at the Track

Billy Mauldin, President and CEO of MRO, and Terry divvy the NASCAR Cup Series schedule so at least one of them is in attendance every race weekend.

Small group Bible studies are held throughout the weekend, led by Mauldin or Terry. In addition, they also cover the Driver’s Meeting and hold a chapel service for the traveling members of the NASCAR community. On occasion, they are on the schedule to pray before the race as well.

Pre-race, the chaplains are available to pray with each driver. Some drivers desire a chaplain to stop by before each race, while others are indifferent. Sometimes, a prior commitment, such as a sponsor obligation, will keep the Chaplains from praying with a driver. However, Terry said, “The main thing is that people know we are praying for them, even if we don’t get a chance to pray with them.”

Additionally, during the race, they are available to family members after an on-track incident if need be. 

 

Connecting Beyond the Track

Terry’s work doesn’t stop when the checkered flag waves. Throughout the week he is working hard, building relationships, helping drivers and the NASCAR community grow spiritually, and taking time to spend with his family.

He shared that his weeks involve many phone calls, lunch and coffee meetings, as well as being available in the various shops, checking in on the community.

Twice a month, he leads a bible study at Roush Yates Engines for their employees.

During this unprecedented time away from the track, he has relied heavily on video conferencing versus in-person meetings. He and Mauldin record their weekly chapel services to share online. Additionally, they have been hosting weekly prayer times via social media. 

The chaplains have also been working on a podcast channel, interviewing those from the NASCAR community about living out their faith, on and off the track.

Nick Terry with Ty Dillon at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama on May 7, 2017. CIA Stock Photo. Photo provided by Nick Terry.

 

“We Don’t Want to be Flamboyant”

Terry admitted that he often hears, “I had no idea there was ‘church for NASCAR.’” While this sounds amusing, it is actually what MRO desires. He said their goal is not to be front and center, “in the spotlight…. we don’t want to be making a scene…we just want to be there for our community.”

Prior to the 2019 July Daytona race, Terry and Mauldin decided to offer a baptism service at Daytona Beach. This would allow those that had been growing in their relationship with Christ an opportunity to publicly profess their faith. Ten people came forward including drivers, spouses, and family members.

Corey and Kelly LaJoie are baptized at New Smyrna Beach, Florida on July 6, 2019. Image provided by Nick Terry.

As with previous Beyond the Track interviewees, Egolf and Combs, Terry said the hardest part of his job is being away from his family on race weekends. Nevertheless, he said Mauldin is “very good” about taking care of him and making sure he has time with his family. 

He noted, “For the time we spend on the road, he does a lot to make sure we’re getting some of that time back with them. And that’s part of not covering every race.”

However, on the flip side, Terry shared, “The best part is the spiritual growth in people. I think the thing that motivates me the most is to see somebody really take hold of the life that God provides. I love to see people just really grow in their faith.”

It is easy to see how that has motivated him to continue to serve the NASCAR community for nine seasons now.

Terry shared a unique aspect as to how MRO is funded. They run completely on donations provided by the NASCAR community and fans of the sport. These donations allow Mauldin and Terry to continue their work year-round.

To learn more about Motor Racing Outreach and how they minister to the NASCAR community, visit their website, or check out their social channels on Facebook and Instagram.

On Twitter, you can follow Motor Racing Outreach, as well as Nick Terry and Billy Mauldin.

 

I want to extend a huge thank you to Nick Terry for taking the time to speak with me. I hope our readers enjoyed going behind-the-scenes with a Chaplain serving the sport of NASCAR. Additionally, I hope you look forward to the next installment of Beyond The Track.

Terra Jones

As a life-long NASCAR fan and lover of words, I'm fortunate enough to put the two together here at The Podium Finish to bring our readers and motorsports fans news, features, and interviews from the world of wheels. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I moved westward to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University. I now reside in central North Carolina with my husband, our three boys, and our dog, Charlotte. While my heart is at the race track, I also enjoy watching baseball, as well as college football and basketball. 

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