Pastor Revs Up Race Crowd with Invocation
A Baptist preacher has revved up a NASCAR crowd with his high-powered invocation before the Nationwide race in Nashville.
Pastor Joe Nelms of the Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn., gave thanks Saturday night for the race cars, the race teams, the tires and "my smoking hot wife, Lisa." He also thanked the Lord for his two children, Eli and Emma, "or as we like to call them, 'The Little E's."
In a booming voice, Nelms also invoked the Darrell Waltrip phrase the ex-driver uses at the start of televised races, "Boogity Boogity Boogity," drawing cheers from the crowd.
"I tried to spice it up a little," Nelms said Monday.
Nelms, 35, pastor at "a small country church," said he believed it was appropriate to have a little fun with the invocation.
"I put in some driver lingo," he said from Destin, Fla., where he was on vacation. "The Bible says laughter is like a medicine, and I wanted people to see that side of religion."
He drew from the stock car-themed movie "Talladega Nights," which he has seen a couple of times.
"It was the inspiration," Nelms said.
His wife of about 10 years was home packing for vacation. Her reaction?
"It floored her," Nelms said.
Replays of the invocation were posted on YouTube and he was deluged Monday with requests for interviews. He did at least 12 while his 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter frolicked on the Gulf Coast beach.
"I had no idea it'd get this reaction," said Nelms, who's been at his Lebanon church for three years and was a pastor in north Georgia for 11 years before that.
Cliff Hawks, vice president of the speedway east of Nashville, said Nelms will definitely be invited back next year.
"He's great to work with, and fans really, really like him," Hawks said.
Nelms merely wants all the attention directed the right way:
"I hope God uses this for his blessing."