Picking a Pastor for the Race - myfoxcarolinas.com

Picking a Pastor for the Race

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At the start of every NASCAR race, the pre-race ceremony includes an invocation. For this year’s Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, retired Army Colonel James Buckner will lead the prayer.

“They called me on the Friday,” said Buckner. “And said, “Would you?” and I said, “I’m honored. I’d love to do it.””

Buckner delivered the prayer on the National Day of Prayer Breakfast held at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). CMS President Marcus Smith was in attendance.

“I was just so impressed with his message,” said Smith. “He’s got a commanding voice. It’s the kind of voice and the kind of presence that I think will fill the speedway.”

Buckner served as an Army Chaplain for 31 years, even participating in the ceremonies around President Ronald Reagan’s funeral. He now serves as pastor of Gilwood Presbyterian Church in Concord. He says he has spent the last few weeks perfecting his message for Sunday.

“This is the eve of Memorial Day,” Buckner said. “So, we’re remembering soldiers, sailors, Marine, Air Force, anyone who has died in defense of this nation. But also we’re praying for those that are going to be participating in the race that they will have safe race and that God will be with them throughout the whole day.”

Smith commented, “And who more appropriate than someone who has served in times of battle as the chaplain for soldiers around the world to be here to help us have the biggest memorial day weekend celebration in the country. It will be a really special thing.”

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