With NASCAR in His Blood, Austin Dillon Turned to the Shed Blood of Christ

by | Apr 8, 2022 | Purpose & Identity

He’s won NASCAR’s two biggest races and grown up in one of the sport’s royal families. He’s also survived a frightening accident and experienced times when driving race cars felt completely monotonous and unsatisfying.

But through the ups and downs that come with being a professional racecar driver in NASCAR’s premier series, Austin Dillon has discovered that operating in close fellowship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in his life. And that includes his job—the one he’s been in training for his entire life, growing up as the grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer and six-time NASCAR Cup Series champion team owner Richard Childress.

“No matter how much you’ve won or done, you still go through the peaks and valleys of life,” Dillon says, who’s in his ninth year as a full-time driver in the Cup Series, in an exclusive interview with Charisma. “I think the greatest thing I’ve learned is that staying grounded with God and having a relationship with him definitely makes the high times and low times just kind of level out.”

Dillon, whose brother Ty is also a Cup driver, is most well-known as the oldest grandson of Childress—who owns the team he races for—but others, including Dillon’s parents Mike and Tina (Childress’ daughter) and his wife, Whitney, have also been instrumental in shaping him into the man he’s become. Whitney, whom Austin married in December 2017, has been an especially stabilizing source of strength over the last several years.

Before meeting her, Dillon admittedly wasn’t in particularly close fellowship with the Lord. That began to change, however, the more he came to know his bride-to-be.

“I definitely grew up having a relationship with God … but He wasn’t at the forefront,” Dillon said on a podcast last June. “I was more focused on racing than God. When God really came back into my life was when I met my future wife. She inspired me more than anyone had in the past. I had gotten to the pinnacle of our sport—which is the Cup Series—and things weren’t going as easy as I would have liked them to.

“A couple of years in it, I wasn’t having fun,” he said. “I was just kind of showing up to the track doing a job. I was single and just a mess. I met her, and things started turning around.”

Whitney, whom Dillon described as “on fire for God,” shared a book with him by a famous Christian author that led him to becoming considerably more proactive about pursuing an intimate relationship with Christ. It was also around that same time that Dillon miraculously walked away uninjured from one of the most harrowing wrecks in NASCAR history when his car went violently airborne into the Daytona International Speedway catchfence at nearly 200 miles per hour before landing upside down.

“The good Lord was looking at me and keeping me safe,” Dillon said just a couple of days after the July 2017 accident. “It happened so quick, man. You’re just holding on and praying that you get through it and get to race again.”

A year and a half later, in February 2018, Dillon won NASCAR’s most prestigious race—the Daytona 500—at that same track. In May the previous year, Dillon prevailed in NASCAR’s longest and second-most prestigious race—the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Overall, though, the victories have been few and far between for Dillon. Unlike earlier in his racing career, when he often grew weary and discouraged from not performing at the level to which he aspired, he now has somewhere powerful to turn. He remembers one occasion in particular earlier this year when he gained tremendous inspiration from a sermon that his wife sent to him on race morning.

“I watched it, and it changed my outlook going into that day,” Dillon said. “I had a confident aura about me when I walked into the track, like, ‘Hey, this is what we’re here to do, and we’re going to accomplish it.’ It was great. It was about having crazy faith.”

While there are plenty of other things that he still hopes to accomplish in NASCAR, the 31-year-old driver from Lewisville, North Carolina, has a more purposeful mission these days: living for the Lord and giving God his very best. Along with joining a Bible study and delving deeply into God’s Word—Dillon’s favorite Bible verse is Psalm 37:3, and he’s come to particularly love the story of how John the Baptist baptized Jesus—Dillon has cultivated a consistent prayer life focused on using his platform as a celebrity racecar driver to share the gospel.

“I pray every night, ‘Hey, God, let Your will be done. Use me in every way You can,'” Dillon said on the podcast. “I hope my story can help someone. God gave His only Son for all of us. I’m just thankful for the opportunities that have been put in front of me, but the glory always has to go to God. Stay faithful; that’s the biggest thing.” {eoa}

Jared M. Turner is a freelance writer for charismamedia.com, living in North Carolina.

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

The Lord Says, ‘Don’t Speak Words of Self-Sabotage’

The Lord Says, ‘Don’t Speak Words of Self-Sabotage’

One of the most important things a Christian can learn is that our God is a God who speaks. He wants us to know we can hear His voice. Prophecy is the basis for an on-going relationship with God. It deepens our walk and releases God’s power in the earth. Here is a...

The Foul Smell of Rot From Washington DC

The Foul Smell of Rot From Washington DC

One of the enduring conceits of our time is that we still have a semi-functioning two-party system in American politics. Most people still don't believe their lying eyes. They can smell the rot in Washington, DC, as far away as Sitka, Alaska. But they have been so...

How Believers Can Work Together to Restore Pre-COVID America

How Believers Can Work Together to Restore Pre-COVID America

On April 16, 2021, I traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the request of a local business leader, Clay Clark. He asked me to speak at a conference focused on ending the COVID lockdowns. Clay is a business coach and entrepreneur who'd seen his clients' businesses devastated...

What Is Your Prophetic Warning?

What Is Your Prophetic Warning?

God wants to anoint you with His grace through your unique prophetic wiring to impact the body of Christ in the place He has called you! He will do that in as many diverse ways as there are people, personalities, and gift mixes across the face of the earth. I cannot...

The Lord Says, ‘It’s Payback Time’

The Lord Says, ‘It’s Payback Time’

If you’ve been following any of my recent posts, you’re probably aware that my husband and I are selling the property we’ve lived on for the past 21 years and buying a ranch. Interestingly, we have also been led to engage in three other real estate transactions at...

RECENT ARTICLES

Discerning False Prophets and Delusions with Mario Murillo

My longtime friend Mario Murillo is providing a critical role in the body of Christ in speaking up against the wolves in sheep clothing. Matthew Henry said, "A traitor inside the camp is more...
Do You Need A Miracle? It’s In Your Mouth!

Do You Need A Miracle? It’s In Your Mouth!

So many people are in need of a miracle these days. So many people are experiencing lack, illness and despair. So many of these people are Christian people that are bewildered as to why they are experiencing such hardship. The Christian life is not an easy one, but it...

Is America Destined to Become Like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Is America Destined to Become Like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Sodom and Gomorrah were real cities and real people lived there. These were notoriously sinful cities that God warned but eventually destroyed because of their wickedness (Gen. 19:24). These cities, infamous for their debauchery and homosexuality, are mentioned 23...

How to Get Rid of Guilt Forever

How to Get Rid of Guilt Forever

Are you bugged by a guilty conscience … carrying around baggage from a certain mistake or decision that produces feelings of regret or even self-loathing? We’ve all said or done things that we wish we could take back. And while it’s completely natural to grieve over a...

4 Tips to Fix Your Christian Marriage Problems

4 Tips to Fix Your Christian Marriage Problems

Christian married couples, like everyone else in the world, can have their ups and downs. The pressures at work, home and family can mount a pile so high you barely see your spouse on the other side. God created marriage and He longs for you to have a healthy,...

Prophecy: The Isaiah 60 Church Will Arise

Prophecy: The Isaiah 60 Church Will Arise

I saw a movie several years ago about an Amish community. In the movie, when someone needed help (whether it was a crisis, a barn raising or help in harvesting their fields) they would ring a large bell. Within minutes, the community would appear in all directions,...

Pin It on Pinterest