(Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)
At the age of 69, numbers don’t mean a lot to NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd, who is still competing in the sport he loves after more than four decades. Last weekend, the Sprint Cup veteran who made 514 starts in that series, made his 300th start in the Nationwide Series and earned a 20th place finish at Iowa Speedway.
“I didn’t look at it as trying to make 300 races,” said Shepherd in an interview with the Sporting News. “It was just another number that came up. I really don’t look at how many numbers I’m gonna [have]. A lot of people ask me when I’m going to quit, how long am I going to race. I always tell them they’re asking the wrong person. I’m here as long as the Lord wants me to be here. So 300 is just another number.
“It’s kind of like my age. It’s ever how long the Lord wants me here. As long as I’ve got my health, I’ll be here driving 200 mph.”
Besides, he told Baptist Press in 2008, “I believe on the Word of Jesus Christ and I believe that Sarah had a baby at 90, and I believe Philippians 4:13 – that all things are possible through Christ, who I have faith in. There’s no telling how long he’s going to use me in this sport.”
In his 26 seasons in the Nationwide Series, he has won 15 races, scored 44 Top-5s and 67 Top-10s. In his 27 seasons in the Sprint Cup Series, he won four races, scored 63 Top-5s and 168 Top-10s.
But more importantly to him, racing gives him a platform to share the Gospel.
As he travels to each track, he does trackside appearances and speaking engagements at churches. His race team has partnered with Motor Racing Outreach and Raceway Ministries to offer concerts, campground outreach programs and various other events.
Shepherd typically drives a car with three-year old engines with very little funding, but he still believes he has good enough equipment to run in the top 15 most weeks. He just can’t afford to hire a fast pit crew.
“I’m 69 and am drawing Social Security,” Shepherd said in the Sporting News interview. “I draw $300-some a week. I can’t hire a bunch of people to work on the racecar. I’m here with the opportunity to serve the Lord with the Jesus logo on the hood. If I’m going to be here, that means I’ve got to do a lot of work.”