While other professional sport franchises or leagues have seemingly chosen to forgo the presence of God and prayer before play, motorsports are one of few sports entities to ceremonially open their events with prayer. NASCAR continues their long-standing tradition of leading prayer before each race, keeping God at the center of their sport.
“Honoring God and country prior to each NASCAR race is a nondenominational tradition that dates back to the founding of our sport,” said Matt Humphrey, director of NASCAR track communications.
Fr. Greg Menegay, parochial vicar at St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Surprise, Ariz., is set to lead the prayer before the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway on November 4, 2023.
“I enjoy watching NASCAR,” said Fr. Menegay, who is celebrating his 25th anniversary of the priesthood. “I feel very honored to have been invited and I feel it is an opportunity to shine a positive light on the Catholic church by having a priest to offer a prayer before this event.”
“Ministers and laypeople of multiple faiths perform prayer service, which reverently asks for protection for our competitors and fans, while also expressing gratitude for such an incredible opportunity to enjoy the best racing on the planet,” said Humphrey.
Within the field of drivers in the upcoming contest are four who’ve earned the right to compete for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship. The first of those four drivers to cross the finish line will be crowned the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion.
“I believe there are still many people in this country that have faith in God and so I think there are many people that will appreciate a prayer before the race,” said Fr. Menegay.
This year marks the fourth consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race to be contested at Phoenix Raceway. Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric and Ty Gibbs have won the previous three NASCAR Championship Races at Phoenix Raceway and have gone on to discover success at NASCAR’s top level. Home to NASCAR Championship Weekend since 2020, Phoenix Raceway has been the premier motorsports venue in the Southwest since 1964 and hosts two NASCAR race weekends each year.
The gates will open at 10 a.m. and the race starts at 4 p.m. with Fr. Menegay leading prayer at 3 p.m. (times are subject to change).
Fans can purchase tickets using the link below to be part of a group from St. Clare of Assisi parish. Adult tickets are $30, youth tickets are $10, and parking is free.