Faith and Racing Leads to Shepherd's Ministry - myfoxcarolinas.com

Faith and Racing Leads to Shepherd's Ministry

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Morgan Shepherd grew up in rural North Carolina, the son of a moon shiner. Life around the farm taught him valuable lessons and skills.

“I bought my first car,” said Shepherd. “I bought a ‘37 Chevy Coach. I gave $12 and a half, two flying squirrels, a gray squirrel and a 20 gauge shotgun for it.”

He learned how to be a mechanic by working on that car. He eventually got close to racing and would work with teams at tracks like Hickory Motor Speedway. But, something else was happening behind the scenes.

“I started drinking probably when I was about 17 and that was the downfall of my life,” he said. “So, the racing got more important and I couldn’t do the drinking the way I had been drinking. So, one time I quit on my own. Remember, I, I quit. I found out “I” does not do anything. Anyway, I went back to drinking.”

By the time the Daytona 500 rolled around in February of 1975, he came home to an empty house as his wife had left him.

“Something had to change,” he recalled. “I had been to church all my life. Said things, but it never was for real. But at 8:30 that night when I fell down on my knees and got done praying, I felt like I could jump straight through the roof and felt a thousand pounds had been taken off my shoulder.”

Shepherd would go on to win four races in his Sprint Cup career, with his faith remaining a constant in his life. Now, his organization, Racing with Jesus, works to help people in need.

“We fill up oil barrels, we build homes, we give clothes, food,” he said. “None of this is about Morgan. This is about our savior Jesus Christ and we’ve taken that stand and we’ve made a difference.”

In two weeks, Shepherd will continue to hold the title of oldest active driver as he attempts to qualify for his first Nationwide Series race of 2014 in Dover, Del.

For more information, visit morganshepherd.com.

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