AVONDALE, Ariz. — NASCAR has never tried to deny it plays up its fundamentalist Christian roots, from the prayers said before every race to the open proselytizing in the garage area with Motor Racing Outreach Christian ministries.
But Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne’s strong faith has called into question whether there may be limits to the mixing of religion and stock car racing.
Bayne was up front at Daytona — and at every opportunity since — in claiming that God guided him to victory in the Great American Race.
And he has gotten some backlash as a result.
Four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon, who early in his career also used his fame as a platform for his religious views, said Bayne will learn to deal with both the positive and negative reactions to his beliefs.
“Everybody has their views and opinions on it. So you open yourself up to being judged,” Gordon said. “But it’s all about your upbringing and how strong you are in your faith and your opinions and sticking with who you are and what you believe in and not worrying about what other people think and say.
“(Bayne) will get a lot of positive feedback from it from some, and negative feedback from others. I think that’s just part of life.”