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Happy Birthday Joe Dean Huss #33

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DETROIT FREE PRESSTHURSDAY. MAY 1, 1980




He preaches over roar of engines

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - (UPI) - Folks at the Rev. Bill Baird's church aren't as likely to be in their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes as they would their Sunday-go-to-racing jackets, filled with patches extolling the virtues of Darrell Waltrip or Richard Petty. The congregation won't be found sitting in wooden pews or singing from gilt-edged hymnals, either. If they sit at all, their perch may be a stack of tires or a tool box. And instead of a quiet, reverent atmosphere, Baird must put up with the rumbling, raucous roar of a 433-' cubic inch engine equipped with a four-barrel carburetor found in Baird if he'd be the drivers' full-time preacher. "The drivers put it together," recalled Baird. "They wanted their own church, their own preacher to be there at all the races, to visit them in the hospital, to perform their weddings and to do it seven days a week." Racing was different for the new minister, who was not a stock car fan. In fact, he had never actually been to a race. "It's a learning process and I don't know much about the cars. But I'm more concerned about the people, the drivers, than I am the race," he said. NASCAR's Grand National stock cars. "The most important thing is to make Christ the head of your racing team," Baird told a recent Sunday morning gathering at Martinsville Speedway. "Is He?" BAIRD IS the official pastor of a unique church the Chapel at the Tracks. His flock are the drivers who almost every Sunday from mid-January to mid-November climb into colorful, powerful cars and roar down straightaways and Into turns at speeds in excess of 100 m.p.h. It's been like this for three years, ever since Cale Yarborough askedĀ 



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