Joe Gibbs Racing, located in Huntersville, has won five of the first 11 points races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year, including the Charlotte Coca Cola 600 on May 26. Since 2000, the team has captured three series championships. But their dominance is not the only quality that makes this race team unique. Along with its 500 talented employees, JGR supports the ministry of two full-time chaplains.
Bob Dyar has worked as a full-time chaplain at JGR since 1996, and Hudson Belk joined him two years ago. Neither was familiar with racing beforehand, but both were former athletes and both had worked in Christian ministries.
Chaplaincy programs exist in every franchise in the NFL, NBA and MLB, but in NASCAR, only Joe Gibbs and Richard Childress Racing have full-time chaplains.
Dyar defines a chaplain as someone who “builds relationships” and “helps people grow spiritually.”
Each week, Dyar and Belk personally go around to each person in the shop, inviting them to a large group lunch meeting, where they talk about God with the 80-100 participants. They also look for creative ways to get to know a very busy staff who must prepare for 38 races a year. Belk works out with the pit crew, and Dyar sometimes gives golf lessons. During the off-season in January, the two officiated five weddings.
“Most people think of a race team as the driver, but there are 500 employees here,” Dyar said. He and Belk try to encourage each one of them.